Daily Life in the Time of COVID-19

Submitted by cchern on Wed, 03/18/2020 - 20:21
House with bicycle in front

The novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted people's daily lives. Below are a list of resources and information that can help during this time.



Personal Finance

Protect Yourself Financially from the Impact of the Coronavirus (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

Federal, state, and local governments are working to respond to the growing public health threat of coronavirus, or COVID-19 . As communities across the country are dealing with an increase in the number of reported cases, many areas may be impacted by the temporary closure of businesses, schools and other public facilities or events, and in some cases, quarantines. While these actions are necessary steps to help reduce exposures, it may bring financial uncertainty for many people who could experience a loss of income due to illness or workplace closures.

Avoid Coronavirus Scams (Federal Trade Commission)

Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. This resource has some tips to help you keep the scammers at bay.

Coronavirus Scams, Part 2 (Federal Trade Commission)

Here’s an update on more scams the FTC is seeing, and steps you can take to protect yourself, your personal information, and your wallet.


Filing Taxes

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (United Way of Central Jersey)

As of March 20th the tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020.
Due to concerns regarding the current health emergency, the UWCJ will continue to provide tax return preparation services, but only on an ‘ONLINE/VIRTUAL’ basis.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program with United Way of Central Jersey offers free tax help to people who generally make $66,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.


Financial Help

COVID-19 FUND Application (Family & Children's Services)
The purpose of the COVID-19 FUND is to assist individuals and families who have been financially impacted due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The FCS Covid-19 Fund is only open to applicants in the FCS service area, which include Monmouth, Middlesex and Mercer Counties.
Please note: If you are applying for utility assistance, mortgage payments in arrears, sewer bill, property taxes, or a security deposit, you should first apply to the Affordable Housing Alliance for financial aid. For more information, log on to https://ahacap.com/


Federal Student Loans

Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents (Department of Education)

Federal Student Aid is actively monitoring the new coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. If you’re concerned about your studies or loan repayment, their Q&A page can help you understand what to do in certain circumstances.

Delivering on President Trump's Promise, Secretary DeVos Suspends Federal Student Loan Payments, Waives Interest During National Emergency (Department of Education)

All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days. In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the national emergency. This will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest.


Rent and Mortgages

Governor Murphy Enacts Moratorium on Removals of Individuals Due to Evictions or Foreclosures (State of New Jersey Office of the Governor)

On March 19, 2020, the Governor signed A-3859 into law, which explicitly provides authority to the Governor to issue an executive order declaring a moratorium on removing individuals from their homes pursuant to an eviction or foreclosure proceeding. The Governor then immediately signed Executive Order No. 106, which imposes such a moratorium. This move will ensure that no renter or homeowner is removed from their residence while this Order is in effect. These actions come a day after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac would be suspending all foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days.

Governor Murphy Announces Mortgage Payment Relief, Financial Protections for New Jerseyans Facing Economic Hardship as a Result of COVID-19 (State of New Jersey Office of the Governor)

Under Governor Murphy’s proposal, New Jerseyans who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for relief upon contacting their financial institution.

COVID-19 and Residential Mortgage Relief (State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance)

The State of New Jersey is working to lessen the financial impact of COVID-19 on residents who are struggling to pay their mortgage and bills. Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, in addition to over 40 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers have committed to providing relief for consumers and homeowners in New Jersey.



FirstEnergy (Jersey Central Power & Light)'s Response to Coronavirus

To help customers facing financial difficulties, JCP&L has suspended all service shutoffs for past-due accounts until further notice. If you have trouble paying your bill various payment options are available, including:

  • Budget billing, a program that averages usage over 12 months to offer the same bill amount each month.
  • Energy assistance programs or other payment arrangements for eligible customers, based on their situation and state of residence.


PSE&G Temporarily Suspends Shut-Offs Due to Coronavirus

In the interest of protecting public health, PSE&G is temporarily suspending shut-offs of electric or gas service to residential customers for non-payment. New Jersey residential customers experiencing financial difficulty as a result of issues related to the coronavirus should contact PSE&G by calling 1-800-357-2262 to enter into a deferred payment arrangement. This policy will be in place through the end of April. PSE&G will evaluate the continued need at that time.


Employment Resources

Find a Job

State of New Jersey COVID-19 Jobs and Hiring Portal (State of New Jersey)

The State of New Jersey has developed a centralized resource to match talent with opportunities in industries on the front lines of serving New Jerseyans during the outbreak. Did you lose your job or have your hours reduced as a result of COVID-19? Businesses across New Jersey need thousands of workers for immediate hire. Learn more about who is hiring in your community.

Employment Benefits

NJDoL Benefits and the Coronavirus: What Employees Should Know (NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development)

Most New Jersey workers are covered for their illness and to care for family members. With few exceptions, employers of all sizes must provide employees with up to 40 hours a year of paid sick leave, whether they are full-time, part-time or temporary workers.

COVID-19 Scenarios and Benefits Available (NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development)

This at-a-glance chart lists COVID-19 related benefits for NJ employees.

NJDoL and the Coronavirus: What Employers and Businesses Should Know (NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development)

The COVID-19 virus is impacting all of our daily routines, with many employers feeling especially vulnerable. To ease your financial burden, the NJDoL wants business owners to know that financial relief will be available in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Health Insurance

Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment

If you have lost your health insurance due to loss of employment, you can qualify for a special enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. The Oranges ACA Navigator Project  can assist you with signing up for health insurance. Contact them at 973-500-6031 ext 104.


State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Controlling the spread of the virus requires aggressive action from states and the federal government to ensure access to testing for those who need it and treatment for those who contract the disease. To date, states have taken a number of actions aimed at reducing existing barriers to testing and treatment for those affected. These specific policy actions are compiled in this resource, along with data on current cases and deaths as well as additional state-level data on health coverage and provider capacity within each state, important factors that may play a role in how effectively states respond to this outbreak.


COVID-19 Resources for Individuals Who Are Undocumented or Uninsured

resources for undocumented or uninsured-1

resources for undocumented or uninsured 2

ACA Special Enrollment Period

Mental Health Support

Social and Emotional Support to Individuals and Families Impacted by a Cancer Diagnosis (Cancer Support Community Central New Jersey)

During this health emergency, Cancer Support Community Central NJ (CSCCNJ) is providing social and emotional support to individuals and families impacted by a cancer diagnosis at no charge through virtual and teleconference platforms.
If you or someone you know is affected by cancer, they offer the following programs and services, all at no charge to participants:

  • Psychosocial support to individuals affected by cancer, including those in bereavement.
  • Age and culturally appropriate support in both English and Spanish, along with interventions to reduce distress and improve coping skills.
  • Navigation and referral to resources that address unmet needs due to a cancer diagnosis and/or as a result of the current COVID-19 health emergency.
  • Financial assistance for families dealing with a pediatric cancer.

If you or someone you know is affected by cancer and you are seeking individual and/or group support; bereavement support; or you want to talk with someone because of the current COVID-19 situation, call Katherine Schaible at 908-658-5400 x4


Services and Referral Information for Victims and Survivors

Victims Services handout 0

Victims Services Handout 1

Gun Safety and COVID-19

Gun Safety 01Gun Safety 02

Information for Friends, Family, and Neighbors

Getting Food and Groceries

Food Stores in East Brunswick Accommodating Seniors (East Brunswick Department of Emergency Management)

Some food establishments are assisting East Brunswick township senior citizens by making accommodations to their hours and service.

Blue Delivery Program (East Brunswick Police Department)

The East Brunswick Police Department has partnered with Saker Shoprite of East Brunswick to assist in delivering food and supplies to qualified residents of East Brunswick. This program is limited to qualifying members of the senior community 65+ and families with special needs. This is a free program and tipping is not permitted. Those inclined to donate to the PBA nonprofit organization, please visit PBA145.com, click on 'Support Us' and donate using PayPal or written check to PBA Local 145, PO Box 4, East Brunswick, NJ. Please note on your donation Blue Delivery. All donations will be used to purchase vital supplies for the community.

In order to qualify for this service you must be either:

  • 65 and older who:
    • Have no transportation (rely on public transportation) or
    • Have respiratory issues or
    • Are immunocompromised
  • Families of special needs:
    • Physically disabled with no means of transportation

Here is how the Blue Delivery Program works:

  1. Call Shoprite at 732-257-7575 ext. 3901 or ext. 3902 for Jean Bartels, Monday or Friday 10:00am - 4:00pm. Orders cannot be accepted on any other day or time.
  2. Notify Jean you are calling for the Blue Delivery program.
  3. Place your order and pay for your order with a credit card. Please be aware that some items (i.e. toilet paper and hand sanitizer) may not be available.
  4. An officer will pick up your order at Shop Rite of East Brunswick and deliver the items to your home. You may be required to provide ID for proof of qualification.

The following items won't be available with this program:

  • Pharmacy medications
  • Certain over-the-counter medicines
  • Cigarettes
  • Tobacco products
  • Any items requiring proof of ID

Please understand that due to supplies and manpower, only a limited number of requests per day can be satisfied. If our request was unable to be completed, ShopRite also offers ShopRite at home services.
The East Brunswick Police Department understands that there are some community members with unique circumstances. If you have questions on whether or not you qualify for this program, please email tcassidy@ebpd.net.

New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children COVID-19 Food Substitutions (New Jersey Department of Health)

In light of COVID-19, New Jersey WIC is allowing additional food items in anticipation of limited food selections related to recent events.

NJ WIC Food ListNJ WIC Food List - Spanish

Food Pantries in East Brunswick

For a list of food pantries in Middlesex County, please click here

If you or someone you know has extra supplies or food they would be willing to donate, many pantries are accepting them. Please call ahead to identify what the pantry has run out of/is still in need of.

Aldersgate Outreach Community Center
Hours: Sunday, Tuesday, Friday 1:00pm - 3:00pm
732-254-73661 option 2
562 Ryders Lane
East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Must be a resident of Middlesex County for food assistance. Government-issued photo ID (passport, driver's permit or license, city or state non-driver ID must be presented.


St. Mary & St. Stephen Coptic Church
Hours: Saturday 6:00pm - 7:00pm
917-436-8603 or 732-857-0188
12 Gates Avenue
East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Food assistance is available to those in need twice a month. Clothing and financial assistance are also available on a limited basis.


How to Support Small Business During a Shutdown

According to the Food and Drug Administration, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.

  • Restaurants are still allowed to do take out orders, so pick up some food to take home, or order delivery.
  • Many restaurants and stores are offering curbside pickup or free delivery.
  • Please consider tipping the drivers, workers, etc. as if you were dining in the restaurant or were tipping at the counter.
  • Buy a gift card to use for later. This puts money into the business now for spending you will in the future - so pre-pay for that upcoming graduation, birthday, or special celebration.
  • Buy a gift card to a local restaurant or business & donate it to a local family who will be struggling as layoffs and shutdowns impact their families.

Food Available for Takeout in East Brunswick (East Brunswick Police Department)

Here is a list of East Brunswick Restaurants that are still open for takeout. East Brunswick Community, please understand that these are not the only local businesses open during this time. Remember to support your local businesses during these difficult times.


Supporting Your Community

Community Food Drive (East Brunswick Department of Recreation, Parks & Community Services)

During these trying times, the need for emergency food increases in the East Brunswick Community.
Help replenish the supply of food and guarantee that all East Brunswick residents have access to nutritious food and necessities.

Donations can be dropped off at the Box Truck at the Recreation & Parks Lot at:
334 Dunhams Corner Road
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Mon - Fri 7:00am - 3:00pm
Gift cards or monetary donations can be placed in the drop box on the building near the door.


COVID-19 and Blood Donation (New York Blood Center)

New York Blood Center (NYBC) is extending open hours at its donor centers and urging healthy donors to make appointments to help maintain the region’s blood supply at this critical time. Potential donors can:

Blood collection sites are disinfected frequently, and New York Blood Center are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 as per CDC recommendations. NYBC staff are also practicing health self-assessments prior to presenting at work. As always, people are not eligible to donate if they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms.
In order to protect staff, healthy blood donors and community blood supply, people must avoid donor centers if they are experiencing a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing), have had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 until 28 days after their illness has resolved. NYBC does NOT test for COVID-19.
It only takes one hour to donate, and a single donation can be used to save multiple lives.


Sew Masks (Saint Peter's University Hospital)

Saint Peter's University Hospital is in need of surgical masks and is asking volunteers to sew masks. The masks need to mold around the nose and have the ability to insert a filter. A tutorial to make such a mask is available below. That particular mask allows the use of elastic or ribbon.

Mail completed masks to:
Saint Peter’s University Hospital
c/o Tabiri Chukunta, Executive Director of Community Outreach
254 Easton Avenue
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901

Local craft and fabric stores sell remnants online and offer curbside pick-up. If someone is having difficulty acquiring fabric, please contact Susan Choma at delaneysusan@outlook.com. For additional information contact Jim Choma at 732-745-8581; Email JChoma@saintpetersuh.com.


Be a Citizen Scientist

Use your phone and devices to be a participant in science projects to solve world problems and advance scientific knowledge. Be a Citizen Science.
Project examples: COVID-19, Gravitational Waves, SETI, Environmental research.


COVID Near You (Boston Children's Hospital & Harvard Medical School)

COVID Near You is a website that allows the public to quickly and easily report COVID-19 symptoms or testing activity. Using participant-submitted reports, COVID Near You Near You maps this information to provide local and national views of the illness.


Information for Immigrants

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Information for Kids

Coronavirus: A Book for Children

This is a book for kids about the coronavirus that has a nice question and answer format. Publisher Nosy Crow made this book quickly to meet the needs of children and their families.


Remote Learning

NJTV Learning Live (New Jersey Television)

NJTV Learning Live is a unique on-air instructional series to help kids learn remotely. Created by NJTV in partnership with the NJEA and the NJ Department of Education, hour-long classes for grades 3-6 are taught by NJ public school teachers. Lessons are archived on the website to rewatch.


Internet Access

Comcast is offering their affordable 'Internet Essentials' package for low-income households for free to new customers for 60 days. To sign up, applicants can simply visit www.internetessentials.com. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.


Price Gouging

New Jersey’s law against price gouging is now in effect. This law prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency, or for 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency. Excessive price increases are defined as price increases that are more than 10 percent higher than the price at which merchandise was sold during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency. Retailers are subject to fines of $10,000 for an initial offense of violating the law, and $20,000 for each subsequent offense. Anyone who believes they have been targeted by a scheme related to coronavirus, or were victimized by unreasonable price increases, should file a complaint, either online at www.njconsumeraffairs.gov or by calling 973-504-6240.


Information for COVID-19 Workers and Researchers

Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 in the Workplace (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Worker Training Program has been tracking information about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as it pertains to protecting workers involved in emergency response and cleanup activities performed in the United States. This resource contains health and safety resources for workers who may be at risk of exposure to COVID-19.


COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus (DynaMed)

DynaMed is a resource with current and accurate, evidence-based content for practicing clinicians. They are making their information on COVID-19 available online for free.


Research on COVID-19

LitCovid (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

LitCovid is a curated literature hub for tracking up-to-date scientific information about the 2019 novel Coronavirus. It is the most comprehensive resource on the subject, providing a central access to 1200 (and growing) relevant articles in PubMed. The articles are updated daily and are further categorized by different research topics and geographic locations for improved access.

Global Research on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) (World Health Organization)

WHO is gathering the latest scientific findings and knowledge on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and compiling it in a database. The database is updated daily from searches of bibliographic databases, hand searches of the table of contents of relevant journals, and the addition of other relevant scientific articles that come to our attention. The entries in the database may not be exhaustive and new research will be added regularly.

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