Community Resources to Help Students and Employees

To keep our employees up to date on the latest resources available in our community as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, we’ve compiled the following list, ranging from food assistance, internet service, counseling, health information and more.

BayCare and Employee Assistance Program

BayCare, a community partner for confidential student counseling, is offered at no cost to Valencia students, just as our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be accessed by faculty and staff members for counseling and personalized services and support. Students may call BayCare at 800-878-5470, and employees may contact EAP at 866-248-4094.

Internet Access

Charter Communications offers free access to Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi for 60 days for new K-12 and college student households. To ease the strain in this challenging time, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, Charter commits to the following for 60 days:

  • Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to provide continuity of learning to those in the educational system. This can include households with K-12 and/or college students or teachers/professors who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
  • Charter will continue to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, high-speed broadband program to eligible low-income households delivering speeds of 30 Mbps.
  • Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across its footprint for public use.
  • Spectrum does not have data caps or hidden fees.

Comcast new Internet Essentials customers will receive two free months of Internet service. Comcast is also increasing the speed of the program to 25 Mbps downloads, and 3 Mbps uploads for all new and existing customers. For details, click here.

CenturyLink will waive late fees and will not terminate a residential or small business customer’s service for the next 60 days due to financial circumstances associated with COVID-19. CenturyLink is also suspending data usage limits for consumer customers during this time period due to COVID-19. For details, click here.

If your internet provider isn’t listed above, reach out to your provider to find out if it is offering any special services for customers impacted by COVID-19 or if it is participating in the Federal Communications Commission’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge.” That pledge asks internet and telephone service providers to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Utilities

Duke Energy will not disconnect any customer’s service for non-payment, in order to give customers experiencing financial hardship extra time to make payments. For details, click here.

OUC has suspended service disconnect due to nonpayment until further notice. For details, click here.

Kissimmee Utility Authority has temporarily suspended service disconnections until Tuesday, March 31, 2020. For details, click here.

Heart of Florida United Way

United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline is a free service that connects residents to critical health and social service resources when they need help. The 2-1-1 helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round.

Food Assistance

Valencia’s food pantry will remain closed until Monday, March 30, 2020. For food assistance and help, please call (407) 295-5009, visit feedhopenow.org or visit 211.org to find food assistance and community resources near you. You can also visit Second Harvest’s online food locator to find a list of feeding partners near your residence. Additionally, Second Harvest is in need of sorting and distribution volunteers. Visit feedhopenow.org/volunteer for details.

Fifty Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) are offering free Grab-n-Go meal distribution for children. For details, click here.

The Christian Service Center

The Christian Science Service Centers offers a number of resources to assist those affected. The Daily Bread program serves a free, nourishing, noontime meal for families and individuals in the community six days a week.

The Love Pantry provides hungry children and their struggling families with a free, emergency food supply directly through local public schools, despite the school closures.

The Family and Emergency Services program provides immediate, short-term crisis assistance to families and individuals facing an unexpected financial crisis. Help may come in the form of food, clothing, financial rent or utility assistance, or other services to prevent them from becoming homeless.

For more information on services, click here.

Restaurant Chains Offering Meal Deals

While you can still take trips to the grocery store to fill your pantry with household essentials, ordering takeout is also an option that many of us are using these days. For restaurant chain meal deals, click here.

Community Vision of Osceola County

Osceola County residents can find a wide variety of resources in the Community Vision Resource Guide. Information for food assistance is listed under Food Assistance. Power and water companies are listed under Residential Services.

Mental Health Association of Central Florida

The Mental Health Association of Central Florida is offering free tools for Orange County residents, including telecommunication counseling. Residents can visit the Mental Health Association of Central Florida website to be connected with a mental health professional.

Business Damage Assessment Survey

The state of Florida announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local businesses. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and implement appropriate relief programs.

Jobs and Unemployment Assistance
For those who have lost a job or had working hours reduced as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, they may be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits or short-term compensation benefits from the state of Florida. Click here for details.

Rent, Housing, Evictions
Orange County is offering a limited Rental Assistance Program for Orange County residents who need help with rent and utilities in the coming month. The Crisis Assistance Hotline operates from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number is 407-836-6500. Residents MUST call for an appointment to drop by the necessary documents. The program does not cover those who are receiving payment from their employer or any other social service organization, such as United Way. Read more here.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office will temporarily suspend all eviction activities until further notice. Read more here.

Scholly COVID-19 Student Relief Fund
Students may apply to receive $200 in cash assistance to help cover expenses during the crisis. Click here for details and to apply.

OneBlood.org

Local and national blood supplies are low. OneBlood is in need of donations. Visit oneblood.org for details.

WUCF, Central Florida’s PBS station

WUCF, Central Florida’s PBS station, has launched At-Home Learning, an initiative to support teachers and families as they work to continue children’s education even while schools are closed. WUCF has reoriented the TV program schedule and free educational services to support the academic needs of Central Florida children (PreK-12) while they’re at home. For more information, click here.

The weekday daytime schedule features programs that correspond with school standards, and the schedule shows which program is appropriate to which grade range. For a compilation of digital teaching resources, click here.

For educational resources targeted for families, click here.

For a series of videos explaining coronavirus/social distancing/hand washing for kids 3-8 years and tips for parents tips on how to talk to that age group about these topics, click here.

Questions about COVID-19?

To better serve and assist residents regarding concerns about COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health has established a call center to answer general questions residents and visitors may have. The phone number is 407-723-5004. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center can be reached at 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. Residents can also send questions via email at COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

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