The Heart of Texas is your ultimate resource for finding the assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has made a mark on every facet of life for individuals, families and businesses across the country. From health concerns and job-finding services to unemployment services and childcare resources, there are a range of organizations present to help you today. Find the information that best fits your needs below:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The Heart of Texas region has worked collaboratively to address challenges presented by COVID-19. While the economy was impacted by COVID-19, the Heart of Texas region only accounted for 1.6% of all confirmed cases in the State of Texas as of December, 2020:
Several programs took place during the COVID-19 pandemic that demonstrate the Heart of Texas region’s resilience and ability to work together during times of crisis:
- The First Presbyterian Church donated $10,000 to the Chamber of Commerce to support small business loans in the community
- The Chamber and Main Street program organized and started a Raising Hill campaign on Facebook, which created a central location for businesses to market to the community and surrounding areas. Local residents were urged to spend money at a local business that remained open at least once a week.
- Two Sisters Ceramics and Makley Rehab put together DIY kits for children to make at home.
- The local coffee shop, Overflow, started offering take-and-bake meals.
- Skips Irish Pub offered patrons the opportunity to fill their own growler and family style meals to go.
- Drift Away Day Spa offered yoga classes online via Zoom.
- Producer’s Co-op and Fleming’s Ace Hardware both developed a contactless pickup system.
- One of the local industrial plants, Gate Precast, purchased some gift certificates from local restaurants to give as employee appreciation gifts since they were considered essential and continued working the entire time.
2020 NADO Impact Award:
- The Area Agency on Aging of the Heart of Texas (AAAHOT), a program in the Health & Human Services Division of the Heart of Texas Council of Governments (HOTCOG)
- Funded the purchase of non-perishable groceries for financially disadvantaged individuals age 60 and older living in the rural areas of the HOTCOG six-county service area during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Approximately 800 families had boxes of non-perishable groceries valued at $100 delivered to their homes at no cost through the efforts of a network of staff, administrators, elected officials, and volunteers .
- Originally, $80,000 was committed to the program, but local suppliers (HEB Grocery, Brookshire Grocery, Sam’s Club and Packless Corporation of America) partnered to extend the value of the contribution during this time of food shortage.
- The program ended up delivering approximately 75 tons of food to families in need.
- Heart of Texas Council of Governments;
- County Judges from Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill, Limestone, and McLennan Counties;
- Flat Rock Trailers;
- HEB Grocery;
- Brookshire Grocery;
- Sam's Club;
- Packless Corporation of America;
- Hill County Community Coalition and
- other volunteers
Preparing for a Future Pandemic Response:
To better prepare for future pandemics, the Heart of Texas COG should work with local jurisdictions to create a pandemic response action plan that includes methods of communicating internally, sharing information with the public and establishing a coordinated response to containing the pandemic, treating it and preventing it. These plans need to include the following:
- How to serve the elderly, disabled, and those at-risk for hunger or displacement
- Sheltering those impacted (or infected) by the pandemic
- Feeding the population
- Care of pets, service and support animals
- Distribution of emergency supplies
- Mass evacuee support
- Mass emergency assistance support
- Support for the homeless
- Non-traditional means of supporting 911 callers in times of greater need
- Continuity of operations and services
Resources that used to guide the creation of this action plan include:
- Mass Care/Emergency Assistance Pandemic Planning Considerations by FEMA
- COVID-19 Response and Homelessness: An Action and Resource Guide by HUD
- COVID-19 Best Practices Information Considerations for People with Disabilities by FEMA
Heart of Texas COGs should also facilitate training at the local level by providing access to training programs and webinars offered by emergency management experts and universities. This could include the following:
- Demobilization in a Pandemic webinar hosted by Louisiana State University, Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education
- Breaking the Chain: Preventing the Spread of Surface Contamination webinar hosted by Louisiana State University, Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education
- Emergency Preparedness for Small Businesses During COVID-19 a webinar delivered by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and FEMA
- First Responder PPE Guidelines webinar hosted by Louisiana State University, Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education
- EOC Operations During Social Distancing webinar hosted by Louisiana State University, Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education
- Continuity: Why You Should Care and How We Can Help webinar hosted by FEMA