Governor Pritzker stated that COVID-19 has brought on the largest number of unemployment claims that he has ever witnessed in his lifetime. The statistics are climbing for job loss and small businesses that are closing in spite of government initiatives. Pritzker’s administration is doing everything in its power to help Illinois’ working families and businesses during rampant Coronavirus outbreak. Our Checkexpress family understands how unsettling this is for families, young adults, and the elderly in our community. We are here to help you navigate your bills, ease stress with cash advance on your credit cards, transfer money to loved ones, and help you lessen your financial stress with budgeting ideas.
As your neighborhood financial agent, Checkexpress has collected a variety of resources to help unemployed families, children, and the elderly in Chicago during this time. This list will provide you with some specific avenues to find help during this pandemic in Cook and Lake County. In General, CUB has compiled a list of benefits utilities and telecom/internet/cable providers are offering customers during the COVID-19 crisis and contact information. They update their information weekly.
Unemployment claims in Illinois have risen to 178,000 claims which is unprecedented. Across the country, national applications have risen to 6.6 million. To help answer any of your questions and help you through the process, please check out the Illinois Department of Employment Security website. There is a specific system in place for filing your claim and using the call center. Personnel will guide you through the process if you are not able to access the forms online.
Reducing Food Insecurity
Without a job, it becomes extremely difficult and worrisome to feed our families. While the COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout the United States, the Northern Illinois Food Bank is operating as an essential business. If you or a neighbor needs food take a look these ideas or reach out to the Northern Illinois Food Bank today!
- Springing into action, they have set up 18 mobile food pantries that will support about 200 families each, totaling about 3500 boxes.
- They are continuing their current 19 child meal sites with an estimated 4,000 meals served daily while investigating needs for additional emergency boxes.
- The Senior Box program has increased to 1,500 to meet the needs of the senior and home bound populations
No child needs to go hungry during this time. Lake County residents has critical information and resources on how to get help via their Lake County Municipal website. They have an interactive map to help you find breakfast and lunch for children while schools are closed. In Cook County, the Public Health website offers locations, dates, and times as well to pick up food to feed your children.
Keep Students Engaged and Moving
Parents looking for free resources, educational tools and guides to keep kids learning while at home are finding an abundance of information and supplies with organizations such as Back to School Illinois, Scholastic, NASA, and Adobe.
While gyms, YMCA, fitness centers and senior exercise programs are on hold that doesn’t mean we sit as couch potatoes. Keep yourself fit and your family active by engaging in some of these online fitness programs. For seniors, the national council of aging has wonderful options to keep our older adults active and safe. Hy-Vee offers a free daily workout out programs for kids which has been promoting health, exercise, and nutrition since 2015. Fast Company released an interesting article of the best free digital fitness programs older teens and adults. View more resources from the U.S. Department of Education.
Celebrating Easter or Passover?
April is an exciting month of major religious holidays for some of our customers. The extended shelter in place orders has many of us physically separated from our religious communities. Looking for Good Friday, Easter, and weekly services? Check out these options for church services. Jewish resources through the Ark will help meet the needs of our most vulnerable. Online Passover services and resources are updated regularly through ChiTribe.org.
You Got This!
This is a stressful time for individuals, families and the elderly. Mental health is challenged by financial concerns, loss of job, living in close proximity, sick family members and death. Most mental health practitioners are will to provide telehealth options. If you already have a mental health professional on your team, stay in touch with them. Many will offer a sliding scale during financial difficulties. Psychology Today showcases therapists throughout Illinois to help as well.
Serving and Giving
This is an important time for all of us to strengthen our kindness and compassion. We are better together in community. Even if the times feel dark, there are ways to make a difference in other peoples’ lives. Checking in with elderly or vulnerable neighbors by phone or taping a note to their door to let them know you are thinking about them. Virtual Volunteering is also a great idea to get you out of your own head and show up for someone else. While so many of us get caught up on social media or texting, actually use your phone to call a family member, friend (especially if they’re married) and hear each other’s voices. View more volunteering opportunities from The State of Illinois.
You Can Count on Checkexpress
Our locations are currently open, but please call ahead in case hours change due to COVID-19. Prepaid debit cards are a great way to help you budget during these uncertain times. If a loved one is in need, money transfers services are available to help. Can’t go in person to pay your utility bills? Our stores offer that as well. While we all have some extra time available, check our some of our previous blogs that offer strategies for budgeting and suggestions to keep our elderly living independently during this pandemic.