Nonprofit provides food to seniors during crisis
TUCKERMAN — Volunteers from the VFW delivered boxes of food Monday to Jackson County seniors who are housebound due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jan Paschal, director of Tuckerman-based nonprofit Every Child is Ours, said with the closest grocery store nearly 20 miles away, she was concerned for the city’s senior population.
“These people are older, sick and scared,” Paschal said.
Her organization already runs a food pantry, but she wanted to take food to those who couldn’t come into town and pick it up.
Paschal reached out to State Rep. Dwight Tosh, R-Jonesboro, to see if he could find volunteers to help deliver boxes of food to local seniors.
“She was looking for help with nowhere to go,” Tosh said.
After checking with multiple agencies, Tosh called Mark Davis, Roy Wiles VFW Post 1991 commander and VFW Department of Arkansas junior vice commander. Davis was able to rally the volunteers needed to help make those deliveries.
“I asked him if this would be something he would be willing to assist, and he said yes,” Tosh said. “That’s what I needed to hear.”
Davis committed to bringing several members of the VFW to help deliver boxes on Monday.
Paschal said she was glad to receive the help.
Every Child Is Ours will continue to distribute food from the pantry on Mondays, but Paschal said she doesn’t know how long the nonprofit can continue to operate as volunteers and donations dwindle in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic.
“We will continue Monday pickup as long as can,” she said Friday. “We don’t know how we are going to continue to operate, we’re going to need help,” Paschal said. “We were going to do some fundraisers, a quilt sale, and a spaghetti supper, but with things shut down we can’t do those.”
The nonprofit is struggling to meet its monthly bills – the electric bill for the two walk-in freezers and dozen assorted fridges and smaller freezers runs $500 a month.
“When you add in Suddenlink, and telephone, and then insurance, it all adds up,” she said.
Every Child Is Ours feeds 1,800 people a week, Paschal said, and over the years, her clients and volunteers have become a family.
“Our people will come in, and they’ll take a seat and we’ll catch up on what has been going on,” she said. “They’re really just like family to me.”
The pantry is still distributing food on Mondays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and again from 2 to 4 p.m., but the building is closed to the public, food will be brought out to the clients, due to coronavirus precautions.
Ultimately, it is the staff of volunteers makes Every Child Is Ours a special place, Paschal said.
“Everybody here works on this, even kids from school come and help,” she said. One volunteer, Peytina Freer, not only helps with the
See STATE, page A2 STATE
From page A1
pantry but cooks every Monday for the volunteers as well.
“She’s that woman every community needs,” Paschal said.
The women from John 3:17, a faith-based Christian Recovery Center in Newport, also volunteer at the pantry.
“We absolutely love the John 3:17 women’s group,” Paschal said. “They show us miracles still happen. The women come into the program one way and leave very different people.”
The public is invited to donate or volunteer to help Every Child Is Ours as the coronavirus crisis continues.
“We’re taking it week to week, but we’re going to need help from the community,” Paschal said.
“We feed 1,800 people and we love them,” she said. “We know them, and they know us – and that is what every community should be like.”
Paragould police warn of COVID-19 scams As so often happens in times of national crisis, some people are out to take advantage of others’ distress.
So the Paragould Police Department is warning of scams, particularly those that target cellular telephones, and they are offering suggestions and how to avoid them.
“Unfortunately, scammers come out of the woodwork when there is a time of crisis or uncertainty,” said Technology Capt. Brad Snyder, public information officer for the department. “They play on the fears and concerns of society, and seem to especially target the elderly.”
Snyder warned that some scams, aimed primarily at Android-type phones at present, may seek to gain control of such device and “lock them down” in an attempt to get a ransom. That is, the phone owner will not be able to use the phone unless and until he or she sends the ransom amount to a specified place or website.
Other scams can try to gain control of the target phone’s camera and/or microphones. “It’s basically spyware,” Snyder said. Such scams arrive at the target phone via text with a link. Snyder therefore warned that people should not click such links. “They can even access your texts themselves,” he said. “My advice is just ignore them. If it’s really important and legitimate, the sender will call you to follow up and ask about it.”
He also warned that there is no “door-to-door testing” for COVID-19.
“Anyone coming to your home to conduct a swab and collect a fee is not legit,” he said.
The Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) is likewise warning citizens of this scam. Persons impersonating employees of the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been going door to door, offering COVID-19 testing in exchange for money and personal information. ADEM has confirmed that the CDC is not going door to door for testing.
Arkansas residents encountering someone at their door stating they are there to test them for a Coronavirus or COVID19 should file a consumer complaint with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office by calling (501) 682-2007 or (800) 482-8982 or downloading a Consumer Complaint Form at https:// arkansasag.gov/forms/ file-a-consumer-complaint/ Other entities have also warned of scammers going door to door, claiming they need to check valid identification for everyone in a residence for the April 1 Census. The Greenville (N.C.) Neighborhood Alliance warned of people claiming to represent (and presenting official-looking credentials from) a nonexistent federal Department of Home Affairs. “They are robbing homes,” said the advisory.
Snyder said that anyone suspecting they are being targeted by a scam should check with the Federal Trade Commission (consumer.ftc.gov).
In addition, Snyder advised people not to click on links from unknown sources. “They could download viruses onto your computer or device,” he said. Residents should also watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-todate information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at https:// www.cdc.gov/ and the World Health Organization (WHO) at https://www.who.int/. The state Department of Health also has up-to-date information at https://www.healthy. arkansas.gov/ Ignore online offers for vaccinations. As previously reported, there currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – online or in stores.
And Snyder urged residents to do their homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. “Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation,” he said. “If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.”
Snyder said his best advice is to find the information oneself. “Do not let the information come to you in the form of applications or websites that may or may not be legitimate,” he concluded. “Websites that are government based are safe bets.”
Limited Access to Departments of Parks, Heritage & Tourism during pandemic
LITTLE ROCK — Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism has announced that the department is instituting closings and/or limited access to some of its parks and museums in response to the COVID-19
adnum= pandemic, effective immediately.
Lobbies of the 13 Welcome Centers located around the state, which serve the traveling public, will close until further notice.
The Division of Arkansas Heritage’s Little Rock museums will close to the public until further notice. This includes Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.
Access to certain park facilities will be limited, effective March 20.
Park visitor centers are only accessible for camping/lodging check-in and trail access, but exhibits and gift shops will be closed.
Lodges, cabins and camp sites remain open but daily housekeeping will not be provided. After a stay is over, the room will be cleaned and sanitized for the next guest, using Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
Restaurants are open for carry-out only.
Parks will continue to provide some access to some restrooms per the discretion of park superintendents regarding labor and supplies, some restrooms may close.
Trails, picnic areas and outdoor pavilions remain open.
Groups holding reservations should contact the park. Group size, meeting location etc., will affect the ability for events to proceed.
Museum parks with trails are restricted to trail access only. Museum parks without trails will provide limited access to exhibits. Gift shops are closed.
Playgrounds are closed.
Marinas and boat ramps remain open with availability of rental equipment that will be sanitized following each use.
Gift shops will be closed.
Golf courses remain open. Pro Shops open to accept golf fees only.
Gift shop and club rentals are closed. Cart rentals continue and are cleaned and sanitized between rentals.
All interpretive programming, events and workshops are canceled until further notice.
For detailed information visit arkansasstateparks.com.