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Coronavirus In Ohio: Foodbanks Say Urgent Help Needed For Low-Income Families

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks (right), checks out the produce while she talks with employees at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank in Grove City, just south of Columbus.
Karen Kasler
/
Ohio Public Radio
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks (right), checks out the produce while she talks with employees at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank in Grove City, just south of Columbus.

Congress is considering a bill that would make it easier for low-income people to get emergency food assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak. Advocates for foodbanks are requesting the state and communities make some changes too.

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks says the state needs to waive work requirements for the food stamp program and allow more flexible rules for operation.

She says many children rely on schools for food and after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine closed schools for three weeks, families are going to need more food assistance. When it comes to distributing food, she says many senior citizens who have been steadfast volunteers are not going to be able to do that because they are the most at-risk to contracting coronavirus, or COVID-19.

“We’re going to need a new volunteer pool as companies, organizations and large volunteer groups who normally are our strong supporters are just canceling those events in mass which we are really worried about. We are also going to be reaching out to see if we can get assistance from the national guard," Hamler-Fugitt says.

She says unemployment compensation needs to be extended so low-income people who are out of work due to coronavirus concerns and wouldn’t ordinarily qualify for those funds would be able to get them.

Coronavirus in Ohio: Live Coverage

The Ohio Department of Health makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands. 
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable. 
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

Ohio's coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634.