Thanks to Kris Nohe for tackling these questions for me as part of the COVID response team from Potomac Valley Church, which is doing an outstanding job loving our community right now!
If you need help PLEASE reach out! If you don’t know where to get it, message me at Facebook.com/PwcMoms and I will help to the best of my ability to get you to the right people.
1) I just got laid off from my restaurant job. I wouldn’t normally qualify for aid, but I’m not going to be going to work anytime soon. Can someone help me?
ACTS has an emergency assistance program.
ACTS provides financial assistance to households who have received a utility disconnection notice from one of the following utility companies: Prince William County Service Authority (PWCSA), Virginia American Water (VAWC), Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC), Dominion Virginia Power (DVP), Washington Gas (WG), or Columbia Gas (CG).
You must register for an appointment online through their website ACTSPWC.org.
Edit from Kristina Kotlus: If you live on the other side of the county (Manassas/Gainesville, also check out SERVE, which is part of Northern Virginia Family Services)
2) Is there any program for help with internet? My kids are home and if they have to do online classes and the library is closed, they’ll just miss it.
Comcast has announced that all Xfinity Hotspots will be free during this crisis. Go to Xfinity.com/wifi for a map of locations. When you get there, chose “xfinitywifi” from the available hotspots and then open your browser.
Internet Essentials program for $9.95 a month for low income families. Adding on 60 days free when families sign up. Call your local Comcast provider for details 1-888-266-2278.
3) Is there any way for someone to help get food/groceries/medicine to people in high risk groups so they don’t have to go out? I can’t afford all the extra delivery fees.
ACTS has a home delivery program
Call (703) 441-8606 ext 288 for enrollment details
Senior Link – receive regular check-in calls (703) 368-4141
4) I lost my job and I don’t have insurance now and COBRA is too expensive. Is there something that will help if I get sick?
Prince William Area Free Clinic
Must qualify for services
Call 703-499-9034 or visit pwafc.org
Prince William Health District has two clinics: Manassas and Woodbridge
9301 Lee Av
Manassas VA 20110
Call before coming in and let them know you think you have COVID-19 so they can take precautions.
6) Is it even safe to go to the food pantry right now?
Yes. ACTS is taking every precaution to keep the public and their staff and volunteers safe. They have moved to pre-bagged food for distribution to limit exposure.
7) Where can I go or call to get help with meals?
ACTS Hunger Prevention Center is open Monday – Friday 9AM-3PM
Edit from Kristina Kotlus: Again, also SERVE and several area churches run some food assistance. Manassas St. Thomas, Chapel Springs, Streetlight Ministries, and more. If you need help, we’ll get you some. If your church offers a food pantry, please comment below.
8) I don’t think we will be safe in a house with my husband for 30 days. Is there anywhere else we can go?
Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 support (703) 221-4951
Domestic Violence Services: Phone Call Appointments Only starting 3/16 (703) 441-8606 ext. 228
Sexual Assault Services: Phone Call Appointments Only starting 3/17 (703) 497-1192
Also, during stressful times, the incidents of child abuse rise. It is an unfortunate reality. This is a particular problem because schools, coaches and other adults who come in contact with children are often mandatory reporters and they won’t see the kids.
If you suspect that there is abuse in the home, either of children, adults, or seniors, please reach out to PWC Child Protective Services. You can call in anonymously.
How you can help?
The Hunger Prevention Center needs donations. One of their major food drives is through the school system and it was scheduled for this week. Just imagine, that feeling you got when you saw all the empty shelves in the grocery story, well now imagine that is what your own pantry looks like. It is a pretty scary place to be.
You can donate at ACTS or at Appliance Connection on the Prince William Parkway.
Also, please consider making a monetary donation to ACTS. If you are thinking that you would like to go out and buy $50 worth of food, consider donating $50 to ACTS instead. That money can be stretched farther because ACTS can use it to buy items they need wholesale.
I can’t state enough how important it is to help folks out. ACTS’s Food Rescue program is one way that food is brought into the center. Usually near the expiration date or they know they have another shipment coming in. Those donations have dropped off significantly. Also, consider being a Food Rescue Hero. Usually, the moment a food rescue is posted, it is claimed. But with the fear of going out, there have been times when several food rescues have been sitting waiting to be claimed. You can do these rescues with limited interaction with people and it will be so important because it will make sure that the food gets where it needs to go.