New funds announced for small businesses + people in need in Birmingham. How to help

Mayor Randall Woodfin speaking at COVID-19 news conference on March 13, 2020, announcing the creation of the Bham Strong Fund. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

In response to the nationwide coronavirus crisis that has swept Birmingham and the nation, Bham Now is working to help all of us get through this together.

Our goal: provide timely information to the community.

We will be continually adding stories, so please look for updates on our website and social media channels to this unprecedented story.

News and cancellations

United Way of Central Alabama’s Drew Langloh speaking at COVID-19 news conference on March 13, 2020, discussing the Meals on Wheels program. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Funds created to support small businesses and people in need

At a Friday morning news conference, Mayor Randall Woodfin and Drew Langloh, CEO at the United Way of Central Alabama announced funds that have been established to support small businesses and people in need during the crisis.

Here are links to the funds:

Birmingham, Jefferson County Department of Health
Jefferson County Department of Health. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

On Thursday, Jefferson County Health Department announced it is recommending canceling gatherings of 500 or more.

Here is the Health Department’s official announcement:

“JCDH is now making a recommendation that all public events with 500 or more people be canceled. This does not apply to local school systems’ core educational activities:

JCDH has made this recommendation based upon:
1) the fact that all states surrounding Alabama have confirmed cases of COVID-19,
2) the virus that causes COVID-19, is spread easily from one person to another by coughing and sneezing, and
3) the fact that social distancing remains one of the most effective tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Going digital—University/College closings in the Community

Samford University’s Harwell Goodwin Davis Library. Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

Samford University, Alabama, Birmingham-Southern and UAB are transitioning to online or alternative instruction. As of the morning of March 13, according to the Miles College  website, they have not canceled on-campus classes.

What’s the impact on big events in Birmingham?

Fans go wild at a Legion FC game. Photo via Birmingham Legion FC on Facebook

Most of Birmingham’s big events this weekend have been canceled or suspended. These include but are not necessarily limited to the following:

Volunteers and Blood Donations Needed

blood drive
Blood donation saves lives, and relies on a steady supply – via lexleader.net

United Way Volunteers Needed for Meals on Wheels

United Way’s Meals on Wheels program in Jefferson County serves over 1100 meals a day, five days a week. Because of the novel coronavirus crisis, they will need more volunteers/drivers, according to Samuetta Nesbitt with United Way of Central Alabama.

“Because many of our volunteers are seniors we may experience a shortage in drivers.”

United Way Meals on Wheels volunteer. Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

Furthermore, they may need help distributing “shelf-stable meals” which the United Way has ordered. These are 14-day supplies of food that will be given to each client. If there is an outbreak and they lose a lot of volunteers, they are not able to deliver to them. United Way has used these meals during tornado and hurricane events.

To volunteer as a driver for Meals on Wheels, there is some training involved. Volunteer today.

Red Cross needs blood donations

Over 600 blood drives have been canceled throughout the South in the past 48 hours according to Annette Rowland, director of communications for the Alabama Region of the American Red Cross. This will result in 18,000 fewer blood donations!

“We are already in the midst of the cold and flu season, so the blood supplies were low to begin with and the amount of blood donations are down,” stated Rowland.

How to donate

There are the fixed donation sites:

  • Hoover: 700 Caldwell Trace, Birmingham, Alabama 35242. Open 7:30AM-3:30PM
  • UAB: UAB Medical Center – North Pavilion. 1802 6th Ave. S., Birmingham 35233. Open Monday-Friday, 10:30AM-4:PM .

You can also make an appointment at 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Useful Information and Links

Birmingham Alabama
Thomas Jefferson statue in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse on the Linn Park side – photo by Pat Byington

Testing locations in Birmingham and Bessemer: Assurance Scientific Laboratories has been given FDA approval to accept patient samples to test for the virus. Details here.

Important info from the Assurance website:

Healthcare providers can order lab tests by referring patients to the follow patient sample collection locations:

  • 2868 Acton Rd., Birmingham, Alabama 35243
  • 727 Memorial Dr., Bessemer, Alabama 35022

Patients without a physician order will have a provider available at the above locations to assess individuals and determine testing needs. Call 205.273.9424 to arrange a sample collection.

Don’t wait in line to renew your car tag

The Jefferson County Commission is encouraging people to renew their car tag online to avoid a trip to the courthouse. Click here for details.

When you visit the online renewal system, be prepared to enter your tag number or driver’s license number. You can also mail in your renewal when you receive your notice.

Other useful links and info

Bham Now’s Work-at-Home Guide

If you’re looking at working from home or staying at home for the next while, you need our mega-guide of useful tips for how not to lost your marbles while being stuck at home, possibly with your children. Seriously, it’s chock full of great info, including ways to support local businesses and nonprofits while practicing loving your neighbor.

From AIDS Alabama

AIDS Alabama is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and will have formal contingency plans next week. We want to ensure that our clients and staff are safe. Please contact AIDSAlabama’s CEO, Kathie Hiers, with any questions at kathie@aidsalabama.org

Tips on preventing the coronavirus

Birmingham, flu, washing hands, germs
Are you washing your hands the right way?

Bham Now published a guide on March 11th on how to prevent the coronavirus. Wise up and check it out.

Stay tuned, Birmingham.

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.