COVID-19 resources and information available from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service:
Food and Nutrition:
- Tips & Education:
- Texas A&M Food and Nutrition Extension YouTube Videos
- Using Food and Other Behaviors to Promote a Healthy Immune System
- Nutrients that Support Your Immune System
- Quick Ingredient Substitutions
- Storing Canned Goods – Do’s and Don’ts
- Canned Goods – Comparing Labels for Smart Choices
- Canned Beans – Reducing Sodium
- Safely Store Food
- Keeping a Healthy Pantry
- Cooking with Dry Beans
Food Assistance, SNAP, Unemployment Benefits & Federal Stimulus Package:
***Please note that many organizations are closed due to the Corona Virus Emergency, so online services or calling is the best way to apply for these benefit programs. SNAP or Unemployment Assistance agencies are currently extremely busy with persons seeking assistance, therefore you are encouraged to continue to call if you cannot get through or if phone lines are busy.***
- Updates for Community Partners:
- Food Assistance Through SNAP – To maximize food assistance help for individuals and family households, apply for SNAP through normal SNAP assistors located in community partner locations in your county. Individuals and families can apply online through www.YourTexasBenefits.Com or by calling HHSC’s Information and Referral Service Help Line, 2-1-1. HHSC is the only agency that can determine eligibility.
- Food Assistance Through Schools – Schools Nutrition Programs have emergency flexibilities already approved by congress to provide student meals when schools are closed. Schools can deliver school meals using the USDA Summer Meals Program to provide alternative methods such as Grab & Go curbside delivery or home delivered meals. We encourage schools to implement these services if not yet implemented. To ensure that you can provide these services you must be approved by the state to do so. Schools districts should contact the Texas Department of Agriculture or your local ESC location for further clarification, assistance or information. To find a local regional ESC office near you, visit www.Squaremeals.org/ESC .
- Unemployment Assistance – To maximize food & household assistance needs for individual and family households, recently unemployed individuals due to the Corona Virus Emergency should apply directly for unemployment benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission. They can apply online at Unemployment Benefit Services by going to this link: https://apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/changeLocale.do?language=en&country=US&page=/security/logon.do. This service is available seven days a week, 24 hrs a day. You can also call a Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 and speak to a customer service representative. **Assistance has been expanded from 26 weeks to 39 weeks. Maximum weekly amounts have been increased by $600 to further assist household with bills such as utility, car payments, rent & mortgage etc.
- Direct Payments from Federal Stimulus Package for Individuals & Families – The federal 2 trillion dollar stimulus package with democratic input was agreed to by the U.S Senate last night. The bill still needs approval by the U.S. House and the President will need to sign. Once signed, individuals making under $75K will receive $1,200/ Married couples earning up to $150K will receive $2400 with $500 additional per child in family.
- America’s Pantry System – Under the previous stimulus package approved by congress the nation’s 200 food banks will receive $400 million dollars to purchase, store & deliver food and to ensure that pantry agencies in their communities continue to be stocked. Clients can access their local pantry agency by calling the states information and referral service line 2-1-1.
- Meals for Low-Income Seniors – $250 million was previously approved for States. As a result, Texas just received $16.2 million dollars for home-delivered and prepackaged meals to low-income seniors. Seniors should contact their local Meals on Wheels provider or Area Agency on Aging for more information. This can be done by calling the states information and referral service line 2-1-1.
- Corona Virus Emergency Grant Funds for Schools & Nonprofits Feeding Children & Families – If you are feeding children & families affected by the Corona Virus Emergency, NoKid Hungry is offering emergency grants to support local school districts and nonprofit organizations in their efforts to ensure kids get the nutritious food they need. This grant request is specifically for determining if you are eligible to apply for funding consideration. Apply at: www.nokidhungry.org/coronavirus-grant-request
- Non-Feeding Information for Low-Income Families, Seniors, Veterans, and those with Disabilities:
- Keeping Communities Informed on Corona Virus Public Health Information – Many cable and communications companies are now offering free tv channels for households to stay connected with public health updates from news outlets. As a result, some households may also receive other non-news outlet channels since many people are stuck at home during this time. You are encouraged to look through your channels to see if new channels have been added. If not offered in your community, contact your cable provider to see if this available for free (without subscribing). This may help alleviate some of the boredom families are experiencing while at home or during quarantine.
Support for Senior Citizens:
Support for Early Childhood Educators:
- HHS, Child Care Licensing Guidance for Child Care Operations that are still operating – https://hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/communications-events/news/2020/03/covid-19-guidance-child-care-providers
- CDC Guidance for Schools and Child Care (includes the decision tree on closures) – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Resource Page (includes a survey for early childhood facilities to tell their stories of the effects of this situation) – https://www.naeyc.org/resources/topics/covid-19
- Texas Association for the Education of Young Children Resource Page (national and state sources of guidance for ECE facilities) – http://texasaeyc.org/resources/covid-19
- CDC’s guide for talking with children about COVID-19 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html
- DSHS Tip Sheet on Managing Your Stress – https://hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/services/health/covid19-stress-tips.pdf
- Child Care Licensing’s Minimum Standards page (click Day Care Operations to find the Minimum Standards that apply to Child Care Centers and Child Care Homes) – https://hhs.texas.gov/doing-business-hhs/provider-portals/protective-services-providers/child-care-licensing/minimum-standards
Food Safety Information
- Online Food Handler Classes – Food handler courses needed by individuals or groups can use this course online in English or Spanish Food Handler: https://agrilifelearn.tamu.edu/catalog?pagename=food-and-nutrition
- COVID-19 and Food Safety Information – Informational resources about COVID-19 and Food Safety (Consumer and Retail) can be found on the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Food Safety Education Facebook page (@foodsafetytxextension) at: https://www.facebook.com/foodsafetytxextension/
- Do Not Wash Fruits and Vegetables with Soap and Water – Washing your fruits and vegetables with soap and water is not recommended by the USDA. Please watch this video from the Partnership for Food Safety: https://youtu.be/xh5TEjhFzHE
Activities to Keep Children Active at Home:
- Social Distancing with Kids – https://agrilifetoday.tamu.edu/2020/03/20/social-distancing-with-kids/
- Alphabet Activities Guidebook by Alice Kirk, Extension Program Specialist, FCH – https://fch.tamu.edu/alphabet-activities-guidebook-activities-for-kids-at-home/
- COVID-19 SHORT STORY ENGLISH
- COVID-19 SHORT STORY SPANISH