The Steinman Foundation is working to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lancaster County. We have committed to $500,000 and developed partnerships with local organizations to deliver Internet access, feed the hungry and provide much-needed mental health support to essential workers and others in Lancaster County during this unprecedented time in our history.
Closing the Digital Divide
The arrival of COVID-19 in Lancaster County has necessitated the sudden shift from traditional classroom teaching to virtual learning. It has also amplified equity issues, not the least of which is access to digital learning resources for minority children and those living in poverty. As teachers prepare virtual learning opportunities for their students, Lancaster County’s digital divide threatened to leave students without home internet access behind. Without access to high-speed internet, children living in poverty who are already educationally disadvantaged will begin to lag even farther behind their peers.
The Steinman Foundation and the Lancaster County STEM Alliance have partnered with IU-13, school district technology coordinators, Xfinity and several other internet service providers to identify the households in need of internet access.
Access has been available to students since mid-April and will be provided free of charge for 6 months from the start date. Read more here.
Do you want to participate in the Internet Connectivity program? Here’s how to you can apply:
Step 1: If you live in an area served by Comcast, sign up for the Internet Essentials program before June 30, 2020. You can do this today at InternetEssentials.com or by calling 855-846-8376. If you are eligible for this program, you will receive six months of free broadband Internet plus an additional six months of internet for $9.95 a month! This will give you a full year of broadband internet for under $60.
Step 2: If, for any reason, you do not qualify for the Internet Essentials program, contact your local school district Technology Coordinator who has funds to help you find another internet solution. Please keep documentation that you have been rejected for the Internet Essentials program or that you live in an area not served by Comcast.
Recognizing that food access will be a challenge to a continually growing number, The Steinman Foundation allocated more than $65,000 in funding to food access and community support partners across the county. This will ensure that help is available to all families who need it, regardless of their location. Grant dollars will be used to support the work of the community partners in addressing food purchases, cleaning and COVID-19 safety protocol supplies, resource navigation and support for individuals facing financial struggles related to the pandemic. The goal of these donations is to extend the capacity of community partner organizations across the county and to make sure families have access to food and other essential supports during this time.
These food hubs and programs have received support from The Steinman Foundation:
- The Factory Ministries
- Lancaster County Food Hub
- Ephrata Area Social Services
- Solanco Neighborhood Ministries
- REAL Life Community Services
- CHI St. Joseph Children’s Health
Help is available to anyone who needs it.
Mental Wellness Resources
Support for the Front Lines
Doctors, first responders and other essential workers risk their lives every day to protect us from COVID-19.
The Steinman Foundation is taking a comprehensive and tiered approach to the mental health needs of residents of Lancaster County. We have collected information from various expert sources including Wellspan Health and CHI St. Joseph’s Children’s Health. These resources offer strategies to maintaining mental wellness and strategies to cope if you’re feeling anxious or stressed, and videos that offer guidance about navigating this crisis with children.
Another resource available to anyone in the community is an app called myStrength. Made possible by Community Services Group (CSG), myStrength is a confidential resource that provides encouragement, meditation and mindfulness modules and many more tools for managing mental wellness. Click here to learn more!
Pennsylvania has created a new toll-free support line for those struggling with issues related to COVID-19. The number to call is 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600. This line is staffed 24 hours a day.
Other phone resources include:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Línea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
- Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741
- Safe2Say: 1-844-723-2729 or www.safe2saypa.org
- Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
- Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357
The Steinman Foundation has partnered with Mental Health America of Lancaster County (MHA) to coordinate an Essential Employee Assistance Program (EEAP) using local mental health professionals to provide virtual mental health services free of cost to essential workers who do not have an employer-sponsored Employee Assistance Program (EAP). It will provide approximately 1,000 essential workers with short-term mental health support from licensed mental health providers who have the knowledge and skills to help them assess their needs and offer them options for ongoing support, if needed. This program will run from June 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
We are currently seeking mental health professionals who are interested in participating in the Essential Employee Assistance Program. For more information click here to view the request for proposals. Applications are open until May 20th, 2020.
Many children with disabilities receive supports, therapies and resources while at school. With the closure of Pennsylvania school closures, families have lost many of these services, or they now look very different. The Steinman Foundation has awarded $15,000 in grant dollars to Lancaster-based non-profits to be distributed to families of children with disabilities in mini-grants of up to $500 per family. The mini-grants are intended to support families through this time by allowing them to purchase equipment or technology, to help their child or meet food access and dietary needs and more.
The following non-profit organizations have received grant dollars to assist families of children with disabilities:
- Aaron’s Acres