State Resources Shared with Faith Communities

Yesterday, I attended a statewide webinar for faith leaders hosted by the Office of Governor Ralph Northam and the Office of Health Equity of the Virginia Department of Health

On March 23, Northam issued Executive Order Fifty-Three that orders the closure of certain non-essential businesses, bans all gatherings of more than 10 people, and closes all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year. Governor Northam is also urging all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel outside the home, if and when possible. This order goes into effect at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in place until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 23, 2020. This order applies to houses of worship.

Dr. Vanessa Walker-Harris – Deputy Secretary of Health 

Explained the salient points of that Executive Order.

This executive order:

  • Closes public and private K-12 schools through the end of school year.
  • Closes non-essential ‘Brick and mortar” businesses for 30 days
  • Bans public gatherings of more than 10 people. 
  • Urges Virginians to avoid non-essential travel outside the home.

Dr. Megan Healy talked about Unemployment Benefits

If you are laid off and/or NOT getting a paycheck, you are encouraged to apply for unemployment benefits here. (This advice applies to faith-based workers whose organizations have not paid payroll taxes in the past. Currently, these workers are NOT eligible to receive benefits, but that rule may change in the coming days.)

Karen Kimsey – Virginia Medicaid is Taking Action to Fight COVID-19

  • Ensuring members do not lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances
  • No co-pays for any Medicaid
  • 90 days supply of many routine prescriptions
  • No pre-approvals needed and automatic approval extensions for manu critical medical services
  • Outreach to higher risk and older members to receive critical needs
  • Encouraging use of telehealth


Heidi Hertz – Feeding Virginia during COVID19

Students and children:

  • 100% of schools providing meals to children 0-18 yrs old
  • Innovative strategies being used such as drive up and bus routes deliveries
  • Text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 (for closest feeding sites & times to you)
  • Longer breaks means additional need

Community and family resources:

Tracey Wiley – Financial Resources Update – 

Visit for information about low-interest loans for small businesses and non-profits.

Curtis Brown, VA Dept of Emergency Management (VDEM)

Disaster Funding Available through FEMA

CULTURAL IMPACT – Suja Amir, who is on the Governor’s Asian American Advisory Board – member of Asian Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central VA

  • Census is now more important than ever – online or by paper
  • Increasing hostile sentiments toward Asians – verbal and physical attacks
  • Spike in white supremacists toward Jewish communities

Thanks to Rev. Michael Cheuk of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective for this synopsis.