We’re all doing our best to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but unfortunately, that means many individuals and local business will be struggling to stay afloat financially. Lawrence, KS is one of the strongest, most tight-knit community I’ve ever been apart of — and so many people and organizations have mobilized to help each other get through these difficult times. Here are a list of resources and actions you can take to address food insecurity, support local businesses, and offer services to those more at-risk in your community.
Food Insecurity Relief
1. Sunrise Project — 1501 Learnard Ave, Lawrence, KS 66044 — (785)-865-1618
A local non-profit, the Sunrise Project created a free shelf that will be stocked with nonperishable food and other supplies, available to anyone that drops by – modeled after their free food garden (open to all, take what you need). The shelf will be available starting on March 16 and located on their front porch. If you have extra supplies or extra food, you can swing by and put it on the shelf to help them stock it back up. They currently have: pasta, sauce, rice, beans, lentils, soups, tuna, peanut butter, oats, salsa, canned fruit, crackers, fresh eggs, toilet paper, pads, tampons and condoms. Need a delivery? You can call or text 785-865-1618 and they will make it happen.
2. Ladybird Diner — 721 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
The beloved breakfast food haven Ladybird Diner is still providing to-go orders and additionally, free sack lunches. Lunches will be available for pickup from 11 am to 12 pm in the afternoon, and will be located at the front of the restaurant to lessen contact. On their Facebook page, they stated: “If you have a friend or neighbor who might not have access to a meal, a kid affected by the school closures or someone who can’t get out for provisions due to a heightened risk of illness, pop in & grab a sack lunch, no charge.” While they do have the resources to provide this service for the next week or so, they are hoping for community support and donations to keep it going. You can donate on their Facebook page, linked above.
3. Lawrence Public Schools — (multiple locations)
While public schools are closing for the rest of the school year, the Nutrition Services Department will be providing “Grab N Go” lunches for all Lawrence residents ages 1 – 18 in the following locations: Arlington, Guilmette, Lawrence High School, Parthum and Wetherbee. These services started on Monday, March 16 and will be provided every day from 11 am to 1 pm. According to updates on the Lawrence Public Schools Facebook page, there will also be drive-thru pick-up options from 10:30 am – 1 pm at Hillcrest, Kennedy, and Schwegler Elementary Schools and Billy Mills and Liberty Memorial Central Middle Schools.
4. Just Food Kansas — 1000 E 11th St, Lawrence, KS 66046 — (785)-856-7030
A non-profit organization built with the vision to help alleviate the problem of hunger in Douglas County, Just Food Kansas has been receiving generous donations of excess food from the local food industry community. They will continue to provide grocery boxes for those in need starting Friday, March 20 from 10 am to 5 pm.
- To receive food assistance, you can sign up to become a client at this link: http://bit.ly/JustFoodApp
- If you cannot make it to Just Food to pick it up, you can send a proxy to pick it up for you. You can just add them at the bottom of your application. If you’re already a client, call the number above and they can add your proxy
- If able, consider sponsoring a box of groceries. Donating $20 can sponsor a family for 2 weeks: bit.ly/SponsorGroceryBox
Supporting Local Businesses
1. To-Go Orders
In order to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing, many local businesses are struggling to stay afloat. But fortunately, most still provide to-go orders and online options. For those who are financially able, consider ordering from your local restaurants — especially for service and hospitality workers who need the money now more than ever.
Curbside KC is a great resource that provides a comprehensive of restaurants and liquor stores in the KC/Lawrence Area and their to-go/delivery options.
2. Purchase Gift Cards
Doing this still gives these businesses the capital they need to alleviate costs, and you can use those gift cards to celebrate once we’re past the worst of this epidemic. For businesses, you have to call the store to purchase.
You can find a list of business who offer gift cards online at Give Local: https://givelocal.co/city/lawrence.
3. Donate to the Lawrence Kansas Hospitality Workers Crisis Fund
To help out the hospitality workers in the area, Lawrence Restaurant Community members Shantel Grace and Rozz Petrozz organized this fundraiser on GoFundMe that you can donate to.
Other Ways to Help:
1. Volunteer for the Lawrence Mutual Aid Network
If you are looking to help coordinate mutual aid and support in the Lawrence/Douglas County community during the COVID-19 outbreak, check out the Facebook page linked above. Run entirely by volunteers and not medical professionals, they are community members wanting to support the most vulnerable with child care, errands, information distribution and community/emotional support.
- If you’re want to join you can access the sign up sheet here:
- If you are in need of support, you can access that sign up sheet here:
2. Check-in with your loved ones
Remember to call and check-in with your loved ones, especially the elderly and immunocompromised, who might need assistance with grocery delivery or other tasks that put them at risk. And even if not, social isolation can be incredibly hard on most people. Watch movies together with Netflix Party, play online competitive Tetris, or have a civil chat about the upcoming presidential election (yes, that’s still happening). It’s always good to remind yourself and each other that this new reality, however weird it is, is still something we can work with.
3. Social Distance ! Self- Quarantine ! Wash your hands!
Even if you’re young and feel “fine,” it’s extremely important to limit social interactions. It’s often our generation, students, who are carrying and spreading COVID-19 because you can have the virus and still be asymptomatic. And according to the New York Times, new C.D.C. data shows that “nearly 40 percent of patients sick enough to be hospitalized were age 20 to 54, even if the risk of dying was significantly higher in older people.”
For more information on that, check out:
- New York Times: Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S.
- Forbes Magazine: Study: 17.9% Of People With COVID-19 Coronavirus Had No Symptoms
If you have more information about community resources, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.