List of Madison Resources

for Impacts of COVID-19

Link to mobile version: www.madisoncovid.com

Link to desktop + editable version: bit.ly/MadisonCOVID-Edit

Last major update: March 2021.

This document was created by volunteers to collect resources for dealing with the economic, social, and emotional crises surrounding COVID-19. Resources have been collected from news articles, local Facebook groups, and grassroots organizations. Expired resources have been moved to a hidden archive document.

The Table of Content on the next 2 pages has clickable links.

This document is easier to read if you go to bit.ly/MadisonCOVID-Edit on a computer or tablet. This link also allows you to make edits to the document. These will appear as comments; the document owner will add them into the document within 72 hours.

☎️ Local 24/7 Hotlines:

  • 211-Wisconsin, general hotline for resources and information: Dial 2-1-1.
  • Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) Crisis Hotline: 608-251-4445.
  • Journey Mental Health Suicide Prevention Hotline: 608-280-2600.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
  • Project Recovery: Coping with Covid-19 Hotline 608- 237-1255 (https://projectrecoverywi.org/)

📲 Other Local Phone Numbers for Support:

For help finding health coverage, medical services, pregnancy and parenting help, support for youth with special healthcare needs, call Well Badger Resource Center: 800-642-7837, 7am-6pm, Monday through Friday. You can also text (608) 360-9328.

For help navigating financial programs, call City of Madison Financial Resources Hotline: 608-315-5151, 11am-7pm Mon-Fri; 12pm-5pm Sat.

For additional referrals and/or for restorative justice conversations (alternative to calling the police in non-emergency situations), Dane County TimeBank Community Helpline: 1-866-758-7887.

For Aging and Disability Resources, try the ADRC Center toll free number: 855-417-6892.

For more referrals and general resources, try Greater Madison Resource Center (GMRC): (608) 770-1174.

📑 Table of Contents

Each title is a link; click it to be taken to that part of the document.

📰 Current State of Affairs (last updated 3/26/2021)

Closures of Public Services

National News That Affects Finances

🤝 Support from Community Members

Mutual Aid

Other Helpful Facebook Groups

Volunteering & Donating

Petitions, Rent Strikes, and Collective Advocacy

🏠 Rent Support and Housing

Current Eviction Bans Etc. (Last Update: 1/23/2021)

Rent Support & Eviction Prevention Resources

Resources for Finding Housing

Homeless Services & Updates

Moving Resources

💧 Utility & Bill-Paying Resources

Water, Electric, & Gas

Internet Service Updates & Offers

Cell Phone Service Updates & Offers

🍎 Food Security

Pantries with Free Groceries (Last Updated: 01/8/2021)

Free Hot Meals for Pick Up/Delivery

Food for UW-Madison students

Food for Seniors

Cooking on a Budget

SNAP/FoodShare and WIC Information

Grocery Store Updates

Local Farm Options

🍼 Baby, Pet, Hygiene, and Home Care Resources

Diapers and Baby Supplies

Hygiene Products

Child Care Updates

Pet Care Resources

Bike Repair Shops


💲 Misc. Financial Resources

Transportation Resources

WI Unemployment Information

Misc. Job Search Resources

Funds for Students & University Employees

Support for Food and Beverage Industry

Funds for Small Business Owners & Self-Employed Workers

Other Emergency Funds

🧠 Mental Health Support

Local Telehealth/Online Counseling

Online Self-Help Resources

Home Fitness for Adults

📚 Enrichment for School Age Children Staying at Home

Kid-Friendly Activities About COVID-19

Kid-Friendly Art Classes / Project Ideas

Kid-Friendly Fitness Ideas


📰 Current State of Affairs (last updated 3/26/2021)

Madison 365 has a landing page for all Coronavirus updates.

The Capital Times has a landing page for all Coronavirus updates. 

Looking for a COVID-19 vaccine? You can call the 2-1-1 helpline or SSM Health. SSM Health is vaccinating people with and without insurance.

  • The SSM Health COVID vaccine number is: 608-250-1222. You may need to wait 10-30 minutes on hold to speak with someone.

Unemployment Updates: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/covid19/public/ui.htm

People receiving WI unemployment insurance benefits will receive an extra $300 per week starting the first week of 2021 and ending the week of August 30, 2021.

New Rental Assistance has arrived! Tenant Resource Center is opening the “pre-application” the week of February 15th for the “CORE” program. They will be distributing $16,000,000 to help people with paying back-rent. This money goes directly to landlords and will not need to be paid back. Click here for the application and more information.

Utilities (gas, electricity, and water) cannot be disconnected through April 15th based on an October ruling by the PSCW.

Dane County Safer at Home order for March:

  • Indoor gatherings are limited to 150 people if food or drink is present, 350 without food or drink (masks on at all times + physical distancing).
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 500 people; masks required at gatherings with more than 50 people.
  • Face masks are required in Dane County in all buildings, for all people above age 5. Some exceptions apply (for eating and drinking, for communication and identification in some circumstances). If a face mask is cloth, it must be 2 layers thick and cannot be a bandana, scarf, or single-layer neck gaiter.

Free Coronavirus testing is available in Madison at the Alliant Energy Center. Tests are done with a swab up the nose. You can walk in, drive through, or bike through.

  • No insurance or ID is needed.
  • They will call you 3-10 days afterwards with results
  • This test only checks if you actively have the virus, and will not indicate if you had it in the past.
  • If you have good health insurance, please try to contact your primary care provider for a test before using the community option.
  • Click here for information.

Questions about COVID? UW-Health COVID Information hotline: 608-720-5300. Available to anyone regardless of insurance coverage, Mon-Sun, 8am-11pm.


Closures of Public Services

(last updated: 12/11/2020)

Utilities (gas, electricity, and water) cannot be disconnected through April 15th based on an October ruling by the PSCW.

Madison Metro rules: masks must be worn and there is a maximum capacity of 20 riders per bus. Buses operate on a limited Saturday schedule. Read more here.

All Madison Public Library locations are offering some computer access (except Monroe), and curbside pick-up and returns for books and other library media. Instructions for curbside pick-up here. Updates on all library services here.

In-person jail visitation rules have changed. See this page for information.

Many neighborhood centers have chosen to close or partially close. Please check your community center’s website for updates before visiting in person.

Dane County Human Services offices are remaining closed. Essential services are available online or by phone. Check here for details.

Joining Forces for Families (JFF) offices are closed but all workers are available by cell phone and email.  Refer to this document for JFF worker contact information. JFF staff are working with community partners to help coordinate resources, identify needs, consult with other agency staff, and of course, respond to calls from families.


National News That Affects Finances

(Last Updated: 1/20/2020)

Stimulus Checks

$600+ stimulus checks went out the week of 12/28/2020. You need a Social Security number to qualify for a relief check. Individuals earning up to $75,000, and couples earning up to $150,000 will receive the full amount. Unofficial stimulus calculator here. Those who did not receive the check may need to file their taxes in order to receive it.

Another check for $1400 is anticipated but may only be for individuals making less than $50,000 or households making less than $100,000.

Haven’t received your Spring stimulus check from April/May 2020? Here is information from the IRS. You may be able to file a form with your taxes to get the $1200+ payment in 2021.

Changes in Government Programs & Eviction Protections

The federal government has banned evictions for nonpayment of rent through March 31st. This applies to people who make less than $99,000 per year and sign documentation showing that they are unable to afford rent due to COVID-19. See Current Eviction Bans, Etc. for more information.

Federal student loan payments are suspended through January 31st, 2021. This does not include private student loans or FFEL Loans. Here’s what you need to know.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is still active until the end of the year -- it provides a maximum of 39 weeks of assistance.


🤝 Support from Community Members

Mutual Aid

(Offering + seeking support directly with neighbors)

COVID19 Mutual Aid Madison Facebook Group: Provides local updates and coordination of collective resources and actions. Allows requests for cash and other support without judgement.

The Dane County TimeBank is an existing organization and online tool for offering and receiving skills and services from members of the community. Requests and Offers can be sorted by location, category,  type, side of town, city, etc. People can join and then go through an online orientation to learn more about the timebank and timebanking. There are three orientation options to learn how to navigate the website: how to videos, group zooms, or phone orientations. The TimeBank is committed to facilitating exchanges and coordinating projects through a racial and restorative justice lens moving forward.

The TimeBank launched a Community Helpline as of November 9th, 2020 that is available Mon-Fri from 4-8pm. This is not a crisis line, but it can be used for referrals to local resources, venting about distressing situations, problem-solving a non-emergency situation that might otherwise involve calling the police, and supporting restorative justice conversations. The number is 1-866-RJustUs. Contact rj@danecountytimebank.org to get involved.

The TimeBank also has a transportation project currently organizing and recruiting drivers to help with coordinating rides for people with difficulty accessing groceries, supplies, or medication. For questions, email ryan@danecountytimebank.org.

Dane County Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Facebook group created for people to request and provide favors, such as transportation and grocery delivery, from community members during COVID-19.

MSN Community Fridges: This innovative project is setting up fridges at several locations in Madison that are stocked by community members with cooked meals and foods. Take what you need and leave what you can! There is a fridge on the 1000 block of E Johnson, near the intersection with Brearly St.

(Fridge address is also in the Food Pantry section of this document, and will be updated as more fridges are set-up)


Other Helpful Facebook Groups

Greater Madison Area - Resources, Referral, & Assistance Group: This group provides referrals to resources in the Greater Madison Area. It is loosely affiliated with the Greater Madison Resource Center. It also promotes random acts of kindness, meaning sometimes group members help out with donations or support for other needs.

COVID-19 Urban Triage Resource Group: Urban Triage is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and empower Black families, while changing larger systems. They have mobilized many resources during the COVID-19 crisis. The Facebook group is a space to seek referrals and receive updates about the organization’s services and events.


Volunteering & Donating

United Way is posting nearly all COVID-19-related volunteer opportunities to volunteeryourtime.org/need as they become available. If you know of any organizations or grassroots efforts recruiting volunteers, they can contact Morghan Vélez (morghan.velez@uwdc.org) to see about getting added to this list.

Lasagna Love is looking for volunteers to cook and deliver lasagnas! They serve Madison and surrounding communities, offering free lasagnas to any families in need.

All of the pantries in the Food Security section need additional financial support due to increased usage during the COVID-19 crisis! Please check out your local pantry’s website if you can afford to donate. Some pantries are reporting that the number of families utilizing their resources has tripled or quadrupled.

All of the Facebook groups listed in the “Mutual Aid” and “Other Helpful Facebook Groups” sections above greatly appreciate members who can directly donate to other group members.

Madison Community Fridge (1000 block of E Johnson) and Willy Street Food Pantry (at the Social Justice Center) are both unstaffed community projects where you can leave food for others at any time! Guidelines for the Community Fridge project can be found here.

  • Please do not leave anything open, expired, or partially consumed.
  • Please do not leave perishable items at the Willy Street Pantry
  • Additionally, please do not donate raw meats or fish to the fridge.
  • If donating cooked meals, label with ingredients.

Latinx Consortium for Action Relief Fund (via Centro Hispano): Accepting donations for a fund that provides direct financial assistance for undocumented individuals who have lost their jobs or who run small businesses. Application process will run through Centro Hispano. (608) 255-3018.

Voces de La Frontera is an organization based in Milwaukee that also does work in Madison supporting the rights of immigrants who are documented and undocumented. They are collecting relief funds and you can click here to donate.

Madison Tenant Resource Center has an eviction prevention fund! You can donate here to help your fellow Madison folks avoid eviction.

Greater Madison Resource Center is taking donations via paypal. Click here for the donation link and include a note that it’s for COVID-19 community measures. You can also donate through Facebook.

Madison Virtual Tip Jar was started for people in the service industry who are out of work or have significantly reduced hours. You can find your favorite bartenders and servers to donate.


Petitions, Rent Strikes, and Collective Advocacy

Madison Tenant Power can help you ask for a jury trial if you’re facing eviction. Doing so may grant you more time to get funds situated, etc.

Check out Cancel Rent Wisconsin for more info/ideas on actions you can take.

COVID19 Mutual Aid Madison Facebook Group: Provides local news, updates from service providers, and coordination of mutual aid, peer-to-peer support, and collective actions to address the systemic issues that have been highlighted by the crisis. Areas the group is concerned about include: Tenant Rights & Housing for All, Decarceration & Bail Support, Healthcare for All, Living Wages, Workplace Safety, Mutual Aid, and more!

Madison DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) is organizing restaurant workers, starting with an anonymous poll.


🏠 Rent Support and Housing

City of Madison Housing Helpline: (608) 264-0549, housinginfo@cityofmadison.com

Current Eviction Bans Etc. (Last Update: 1/23/2021)

Federal eviction moratorium: A ban on evictions for non-payment of rent is active through March 31st but you have to sign paperwork for it! Click here for a helpful video from Legal Action of Wisconsin about the moratorium.

The basics:

  • It applies to all tenants who present a signed declaration to their landlords. The declaration requires the tenant to state that:
  1. Your annual income is less than $99,000, OR you were not required to report income tax in 2019, OR you received a stimulus check;
  2. You are unable to pay rent due to income loss or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  3. You would become homeless or need to double-up if evicted;
  4. You will still make partial payments ("using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other non-discretionary expenses”).
  • The Tenant Resource Center made this tool so that you can make your own declaration to your landlord.
  • If your landlord gives you a termination notice or court papers, you should contact an attorney. Call Legal Action of Wisconsin at 855-947-2529 to ask for help. They provide free legal aid to low-income households.

More info about the moratorium:

  • Unpaid rent still accumulates during this time and will be owed to your landlord even after the eviction ban ends.
  • It applies wherever there is not a more protective state moratorium in effect, i.e. it acts as a bare minimum protection.
  • It applies to evictions for nonpayment of rent, not other types of evictions.
  • There are criminal penalties for violations.
  • Click here to view the order itself.


Rent Support & Eviction Prevention Resources

(last update: 2/18/2021)

(see also: Emergency Financial Resources for places to apply for help paying rent/bills; Petitions, Rent Strikes, and Collective Advocacy to check for groups organizing rent strikes and petitions)

New Rental Assistance is available! Tenant Resource Center is opening the “pre-application” the week of February 15th for the “CORE” program. They will be distributing $16,000,000 to help people with paying back owed rent!! The money goes directly to landlords for owed rent and will not need to be paid back later.

  • It will only pay back-owed rents (“arrears”), not current/future rent
  • A member of the household must be quality for unemployment benefits OR attest in writing that they have experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19
  • Applicant must demonstrate the risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability
  • Household income must be at or below 50% area median income (AMI)
  • Tenants who are doubled up (people in the apartment not on the lease) or living in a hotel/motel will not qualify
  • Landlords can apply on behalf of tenants, with the tenant’s signature

If your landlord gives you a termination notice or court papers, you should contact an attorney. Call Legal Action of Wisconsin at 855-947-2529 to ask for help. They provide free legal aid to low-income households!

Legal Action of Wisconsin also operates the Dane County Eviction Defense Project. They can provide some legal advice, help with documents, and help you access Zoom call court hearings. For those services, they need to see you at least an hour before your court hearing.

  • Legal Action’s intake phone number is 855-947-2529 and they recommend calling ahead to make an appointment if possible.
  • Office hours are Mondays 9am-1pm and Tuesdays 8:30am-4:30pm (call first, as hours may have changed)
  • During COVID-19, their office is located in the lower level of the building at 744 Williamson St (same building as Ground Zero coffee). Take the elevator by the bathrooms on the first floor, or the stairs in the rear entrance of the building, to find the office.
  • You should bring: Proof of income, court papers, notices, rental agreements to your appointment.

For further rent and eviction prevention support, call the Tenant Resource Center at 608-257-0006 x7. They can help you understand current rules around evictions and sign you up for eviction prevention programs which provide direct funds.

  • The TRC is currently closed for walk-ins and is serving people over the phone.
  • All tenants and landlords in Dane County are welcome to call TRC at 608-257-0006 or email us at asktrc@tenantresourcecenter.org or preguntas@tenantresourcecenter.org in Spanish or English. Please leave a detailed message with us and we will return your communication as soon as possible. Consider saving the number to your phone so that you know when they’re calling you back.
  • To connect with Eviction Prevention Coordinated Entry, participants should leave a message on the eviction prevention line (608) 257-0006 Ext. 7.
  • All tenants in Dane County are welcome to access our Eviction Prevention Clinic, and all tenants and landlords alike may request mediation support from our new Upstream Mediation Program.

Madison Tenant Power can give you information about requesting a jury trial if you’re facing eviction. Doing so may grant you more time to get funds situated before the eviction takes place.

The Community Action Coalition of Southern Wisconsin has limited emergency funds available to prevent evictions (not specific to COVID-19). You must meet eligibility criteria and you must have received an eviction notice.

  • Call their Housing Crisis Hotline at 855-510-2323 from 8:00-4:30 Monday through Friday to complete a Housing Intake.

Dane County Emergency Assistance Grants:  Emergency Assistance is a one-time payment that can help low-income parents pay an emergency housing or utility-related expense.

Porchlight DIGS Prevention Program: provides housing-related emergency assistance to individuals and families in Dane County who are facing eviction and therefore at risk of becoming homeless. Additionally, DIGS offers financial support to those who have secured affordable housing but need assistance with first month’s rent and security deposit.

  • Individuals and families seeking eviction/homelessness prevention funds should call the Tenant Resource Center at (608) 257-0006, option 7.
  • Each household will be assessed and placed on a coordinated priority list, then will be contacted by the program for which the household is eligible.
  • Rent assistance: Call (608) 252-8522 on Tuesdays between 8:30am – 9:00am.  
  • First month’s rent assistance, apartment application fees: Call (608) 252-8522 on Thursdays between 8:30am – 9:00am.

Middleton Outreach Ministry Stable Housing Program:  Case Managers provide housing assistance and budget counseling to help prevent eviction and maintain long term stable housing.  Receiving assistance with rent, security deposit and utilities can make the difference in a crisis.  Email clients@momhelps.org and someone will respond to your request.

Sun Prairie Home Mission Fund: helps with emergency eviction prevention or utilities for people in Sun Prairie.

  • Contact Tashell Jackson at (608) 257-2534 ext.37. 
  • Requirements: (1) must have sufficient income to pay rent/utilities. (2) must have a 5-day notice or utility bill. (3) assistance is provided for rent or utilities once every twelve months, and preference is given to first time fund users. (4) average grant is up to $300.
  • The Home Mission Fund does NOT assist with the following: motel/hotel, camping fees, pet related expenses, cable bill, phone bill, credit/loan payments, food, diapers, furniture, clothing, prescriptions, medical bills, car or other insurance, etc.

For residents of the DeForest Area School District:  The DeForest Area Needs Network may be able to provide rent assistance. Call 608-287-9516.  

For Veterans:  Dane County Veterans Services Office: 608-266-4158, http://www.danevets.com/services.

For Native American Tribal Enrolled Members: Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Authority is offering one-time grants up to $700 towards rent for members of the Ho-Chunk Nation and other Native American Tribal Enrolled Members. (link to application)

General Housing Assistance & Additional Referrals:

Resources for Finding Housing

Housing Vacancy List (updated weekly): List of housing vacancies in Dane County. Organized according to unit size, rent and location.  For additional assistance, contact Housing Navigation Services | (608) 826-8093 | HousingNavigation@ccmadison.org.

List of Subsidized and Public Housing Options: See also Housing Navigation Services’ Tips When Applying for Low Income Housing, available here.

Homeless Services & Updates

The Salvation Army has diversion assistance for people who are currently doubled up. This could be rent assistance, gas and grocery cards or utility payments for people to be able to stay in the residence they are currently staying in. Clients should call 608-250-2298 or 608-250-2203.  

Housing Navigation Services is operating 100% remotely at this until further notice.  They can be reached 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday – Friday, at (608) 826-8093 or emailing HousingNavigation@ccmadison.org.  

Briar Patch Youth Services is still open for homeless youth (ages 12-17). Their 24-hour phone line for referrals and help is operational. 608-251-1126.  

The Beacon:  To connect with homeless services staff who are normally at the beacon, call (608) 826-8019 or complete the contact form on the HSC website (https://www.danecountyhomeless.org/cecontactform). Calls are returned within 24 business hours. VI-SPDAT assessment will be conducted over the phone.  

The Salvation Army: Women and Families who are accessing emergency shelter will be contacted by staff to schedule a time to complete the VI-SPDAT assessment over the phone.  

Porchlight: Men who are accessing emergency shelter can meet with staff at Grace Men’s drop-in shelter in the evening to complete the VI-SPDAT assessment. Porchlight center has been temporarily relocated to Warner Park Community Recreation Center at 1625 Northport Dr. They have a new intake number - (608) 243-0232

Porchlight DIGS Program: Bus tickets, gas vouchers, travel expenses: Call (608) 252-8522 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8:30am.

The MadCity Homeless Resource Guide is a comprehensive listing of community resources that are non-specific to the Coronavirus. This includes: shelter, bus passes, day centers, laundry, housing referrals, phones, narcan & needle exchange, and survival gear. https://www.madcityhomelessresourceguide.com/resource-list

Moving Resources

Job Access Loans are no-interest loans that can be used to pay for moving expenses, if you are moving in order to get or keep a job. Call Kim Murphy at (608) 665-9118 or email kmurphy@fsc-corp.org for an application (South Madison office). Job Access Loans from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families typically are to be repaid within a 12-month period, but may be extended up to a maximum of 24 months in individual circumstances.


💧 Utility & Bill-Paying Resources

Water, Electric, & Gas

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) directed water, electric, and natural gas utilities to cease disconnecting residential service for nonpayment until April 15th (link to their COVID page; link to the official decision).

Electric: MG&E is willing to negotiate payment plans for utilities.

  • Call MG&E at (608) 252-7144,
  • or Budget Payment Plan line: (608) 252-7080. 
  • Their physical office is currently closed.

Water: Madison Water Utility began charging late fees on November 6th, 2020.

General Utility Assistance: The PSCW homepage has information about free/reduced utility services across WI.

  • Households making less than 60% of the state median income in the last month (e.g., $3,859.83 for a family of 3) are eligible for utility payment assistance through WHEAP (Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program).
  • 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947).

Scam warning: Scammers are using automated messages and voicemails pretending to be MG&E and threatening disconnection. MGE will not be disconnecting customers who have fallen behind on payments during this public health emergency.

  • If you ever feel uncomfortable with the contact you receive from somebody claiming to be from MGE, call them immediately at (608) 252-7222 before you take any action.
  • For more information, visit www.mge.com/scam.

Internet Service Updates & Offers

Madison Public Library WiFi is still ON at every location (even though all branches are now closed). Anyone can access free wifi from outside of the building and parking lot. Madison Public Schools also has information on public hotspots for students here.

Spectrum has an internet program for lower income families. It should cost around $15 per month for those who qualify. The link includes eligibility information and the application.  If your address serves a school that is certified in the National School Lunch Program, then you will qualify for the reduced rate, even if you do not have a child in school.  This is the Community Eligibility Provision of the NSLP.

Comcast has an “internet essentials” option for lower income families. The service is $10 plus tax per month for eligible households. You cannot have debt to Comcast from the last year, and you cannot have been a Comcast customer in the last 90 days. 

  • Comcast also stated in March that if you call them and inform them of your financial situation due to COVID-19, they will not charge late fees or disconnect you from service -- it is unclear whether this offer still stands.

AT&T Home has a low income internet option and income requirements have changed during COVID-19 to include more households. Application here. This program should cost around $5-10 per month. Data overage charges for all AT&T internet customers are also waived through September 30th.

T-Mobile has a program called Project 10 Million that offers 5 years of internet service for free to the families of students in the National School Lunch Program.  Details are here: https://www.t-mobile.com/brand/project-10-million

Four Lakes Broadband will charge $25/month for 3 months, with 0 up-front cost. Service is best for people in Stoughton, McFarland, etc. (https://psc.wi.gov/Pages/Programs/BroadbandEmergencyInternetResources.aspx)

TDS does not service downtown or Hill Farms Neighborhood (Sheboygan Ave).

Cell Phone Service Updates & Offers

Carrier name + link to their COVID-19 updates page

Cheap and/or COVID-19-related plans available

(last updated 8/1/2020)

Assurance / Lifeline

FREE minutes, texting, and data for people who are eligible for other assistance programs, such as SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, TANF

www.assurancewireless.com 

AT&T

Covid-related offers appear to have expired on June 30th.

Boost Mobile

No Covid-related offers; If you cannot make a payment, call 866-402-7366.

Google Voice

(set-up instructions here)

Google voice is a good temporary measure if you’re struggling with phone bills but have consistent internet/WiFi access.

  • It requires a gmail account and a working phone number to set up your account. Once you have a Google Voice number, it's yours forever and you do not need a phone number outside of Google to keep the account. So, if you are concerned your phone plan might be cancelled, set up Google Voice while your cell plan is still active, and then you can switch to Voice when the plan ends.
  • You can use it on any computer or phone that’s connected to the internet -- it allows texts, calls, and voicemails.
  • When you are not connected to the internet, people can still text and leave voicemails at the number and you can check them when you’re back online again.

Republic Wireless

- $15 unlimited talk/text

- No termination for economic hardship (open a ticket with Republic Wireless app)

Sprint

Sprint allows payment arrangements to prevent your phone from shutting off when you’re past due. FAQ here.

T-Mobile

“If you are past due you can set up a payment arrangement online, or dial 611 from your T-Mobile device to speak to your Team of Experts to find the best solution for you. If you've previously contacted us and obtained relief that is ending, contact us again if you need additional options.”

US Cellular

No late fee or termination (call 1-888-939-3900 and reference covid-19)

Verizon

If you contacted us by June 30 to protect your account, you have been enrolled in a repayment program.” Otherwise, most covid-related offers expired in April or May.


🍎 Food Security

Pantries with Free Groceries (Last Updated: 01/8/2021)

This is a list of pantries that provide free bags or boxes of groceries for curbside or drive through pick up. Click the name of the pantry to be taken to their site for more info. If you are sick, please contact your food pantry to see if someone can pick up food on your behalf. Pantries that have a delivery option are marked with this emoji: 🚗

Name, address, hours

Eligibility Notes

Allied Food Pantry

At the Boys and Girls Club

4619 Jenewein Road

Wednesdays 10am-12pm.

1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, 10:00am-11:30am.

  • Must live in 53711, 53713 or 53719 ZIP code;
  • can use pantry once per four weeks;
  • must bring identification for all family members in your household;

Badger Prairie Needs Network

1200 E. Verona Ave, 608-848-2499

Tuesday: 10am-12pm noon,

Thursday: 11:00am-6:30pm,

Friday: 10am-12pm noon,

Saturday: 10:00am-12:30pm.

  • All low-income Dane County residents during COVID-19
  • Twice per month
  • Bring ID for all family members and proof of address (recent mail, bill preferred)
  • Come alone if possible
  • Please empty trunk in advance 

Catholic Multicultural Center

1862 Beld Street, 608-661-3512

Tuesday 2:00pm to 3:30pm

(includes hygiene products) (Registration starts at 1:00pm).

 

Thursday 10:30am to 12:00pm (Registration starts at 9:30am).

🚗 delivery available

  • Food pantry sign-up and distribution will happen in the parking lot.
  • You will be asked to provide your name, how many people live in your household, and your full address including zip code.
  • Can be used once per week per family.

🚗 CMC also offers delivery from their pantry for vulnerable families who can’t come on their own. Call 608-616-0769 for info.

East Madison Community Center

8 Straubel Court, (608) 249-0861

Tuesdays, 11:30am-1:30pm

(Registration starts at 10am)

  • Must meet income eligibility requirements
  • Must bring ID
  • Must bring proof of Dane County residence

Goodman Center Fritz Food Pantry

149 Waubesa St, 608-241-1574

Tuesdays 9:30-noon;

Wednesdays 6-8pm;

Thursdays 12:30-3.

🚗 some delivery available

  • Can be picked up at the Ironworks parking lot, by car, bicycle, or on foot!
  • Masks are required (if you don’t have one, they can provide you with one).

🚗 They deliver groceries + meals to Darbo/Worthington and Brentwood neighborhoods, and the Carbon and Generations apartment homes at Union Corners. See info at bottom of this page.

Leopold Elementary Drive-Through

2602 Post Rd, Madison

Tuesdays, 11:00am - 1:00pm.

Pantry is run by YMCA and Second Harvest Food Bank. Drive-through is in the side parking lot of the elementary school.

Lussier Community Education Center

55 S Gammon Rd, 608-833-4979

Wed 7-8pm

Sat 12-1pm

Unlimited pantry visits for perishable and non-perishable food.

  • Bring photo ID + proof of address.
  • Shoppers should remain in their vehicles when they arrive as volunteers put their food together

Madison Community Fridge #1

1000 block of E. Johnson, near Brearly St

Open 24/7, unstaffed

This fridge is filled with misc. meals and food donated by community members. Take what you need and leave what you can.

Madison Community Fridge #2

29 S Mills St at Neighborhood House

Open 24/7, unstaffed

This fridge is filled with misc. meals and food donated by community members. Take what you need and leave what you can.

Meadowood Neighborhood Center

5740 Raymond Rd, 608-467-8360

Tuesdays 3-6pm,

Saturdays 12pm-2pm

  • Pantry is intended to serve people in the Meadowood Neighborhood, but is flexible.
  • You will be asked to sign a waiver regarding COVID-19, and to fill out a form for the neighborhood center.
  • Indoor capacity is limited to 10 people at a time and masks must be worn.

Middleton Outreach Ministry

3502 Parmenter St, Middleton

Tue 12-1:30pm,

Thu 12-1:30pm,

Sat 10am-noon.

  • Serves mostly the Western side of Madison + Cross Plains; open to all during COVID!
  • Income restriction: must be at 300% or below the poverty line
  • ID required
  • They have a no-contact menu system for selecting groceries

Mt. Zion

2029 Fisher Street, 608-957-9081

1st & 3rd Mondays 10:00am-12:00pm.

2nd & 4th Tuesdays 4:00pm-6:00pm.

Please call for more information.

Prairie Road Pantry

Near intersection of Prairie Road & Loreen Dr

Madison, WI

Open 24/7, unstaffed

This is a free pantry in someone’s yard, stocked by the community! Take as much as you need. Gets stocked with food and some hygiene items. See the Facebook page for information and updates about major restocks.

The River

2201 Darwin Road

Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri: 10am-3pm.

🚗 delivery available

  • Serves Dane County
  • First time visitors must bring proof of address and IDs for each household member. List of acceptable IDs here.
  • They also offer take-home meals for families when you pick up your groceries!

St. Mark's Lutheran Church

605 Spruce St.

Tuesdays from 10a-12p and Thursdays 5:15p-7:15p.

  • People may participate once every twenty eight to thirty days.
  • It is recommended that the Food Pantry support families who are at 185% of the poverty level. For example, a family of four may have an income of $44,000.
  • ID is required but proof of income is not required.

St Vincent

2033 Fish Hatchery Road, 608-257-0919

Mon 10:30am-2:30pm,

Tue 10:30am-2:30pm,

Thu 2:30pm-6:30pm;

Fri 10:30am-2:30pm.

  • Can be used every 2 weeks;
  • must live in Dane County;
  • household income under 300% of federal poverty line;
  • must bring ID for all family members

The Willy Street Pantry

1202 Williamson Street (Social Justice Center)

Open 24/7, unstaffed

This is a free pantry outside of the Social Justice Center. Volunteers keep it stocked with canned and boxed foods, and sometimes fresh produce and cooked foods. It’s open to anyone -- you can just take what you need at any time.

Volunteers are welcome to leave donation items at the pantry too.

Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center

953 Jenifer Street, (608) 257-4576

Packaged groceries on Wednesdays 11am-2pm

Packaged community meal on Saturdays at 11am-12:30pm

Guests should bring a photo ID and piece of mail if possible.

Additional food options may be available: call 2-1-1 for information.

List of Food Pantries in our area. Some may be closed or limited due to COVID-19. 

List of Madison food resources, organized by side of town. (Last updated 3/31/20)


Free Hot Meals for Pick Up/Delivery

Free breakfast and lunch for children are available for pick-up through the Madison School district at certain hours: 

  • Click here for MMSD food delivery sites with locations, map, and daily schedules. 
  • Click here for other Dane County school district meal information.

Goodman Center is delivering free meals (and groceries) to residents in Darbo/Worthington and Brentwood neighborhoods, and the Carbon and Generations apartment homes at Union Corners. See info at bottom of this page.

The River’s MUNCH Truck will still be running its normal route Monday-Saturday while school is out. MUNCH lunches are available for children AND parents.

  • Schedule and location of deliveries (north side locations) here.
  • They have added one last stop at Kennedy Heights from 2:05-2:20pm.

The River food pantry also provides some family meals for pick-up once per week, in addition to groceries. Info here.

FEED to Go is distributing hot dinners to families in need due to COVID-19 at many sites across Madison. See list of locations here; please check a specific location’s website for more details on how to pick up meals.

Lasagna Love offers free homemade lasagnas to families. “Let Lasagna Mama’s volunteers help take a small amount of stress off for a night. THESE LASAGNAS ARE FREE!”

  • Sign up at www.lasagnalove.org
  • This is a small volunteer-run offer -- it may take 1-2 weeks for you to hear back from them. Please feel free to check in if you haven’t heard back in 2 weeks or longer.
  • They serve anyone in the Madison area or surrounding communities!

The Catholic Multicultural Center, 1862 Beld St., has free meals weekdays 4 to 5pm and weekends 11:30am to 12pm.

Luke House, 310 S. Ingersoll St, is providing bagged meals that are distributed at the door. There are no forms or questions asked. Meal times: 

  • Monday through Thursday: 11:30am-12:30pm.
  • Sunday through Thursday: 5:45pm-6:30pm.

YMCA in Sun Prairie has 3 pick-up sites for free lunches and next-day-breakfasts for children. Children must be present to pick up their meals. Sites and hours: Walk up or drive through:

  • Vandenburg Heights Park  (Monday-Friday, 12:45-1:15 pm)
  • Rolling Prairie Apartments  (Monday-Friday, 11:15-11:45 am)
  • Element on Main Apartments  (Monday-Friday, 12:00-12:30 pm)

First United Methodist is offering delivered food/essentials to those in Dane County and those outside of Dane County who have an illness/medical condition.  Recipients must apply and meet the income guidelines. Call 608-251-4407 to request delivery.

NewBridge is coordinating meals for seniors (age 60+) at 5 sites around Madison. Please call 608-512-0000 for more information. (Source)

 

Snack Sack is fulfilling Amazon wishlists for healthy snacks for families with children, up to $50 per family: Sign Up Here / thesnacksack.org.


Food for UW-Madison students

UW-Madison students can request 10-15 lb prepackaged grocery boxes. You must fill out a form to request a box in advance. Options vary weekly but various quantities of produce, dairy, and dry goods are typically available.

There are 3 pick-up locations and times; click the name to be taken to the request form:

Food for Seniors

NewBridge is coordinating meals for seniors (age 60+) at 5 sites around Madison. Please call 608-512-0000 for more information. (Source)

Seniors may also want to contact their local ADRC for additional information. 608-240-7400.

Cooking on a Budget

Reddit Thread: recipe + grocery list for feeding a family of 4 on a tight budget. 

Budget Bytes: Budget-friendly recipes and meal plans.

Cooking in a Time of Social Distancing - blog from Wisconsin library system with links to cookbooks that are available online.


SNAP/FoodShare and WIC Information

These programs provide benefits that can be spent like cash at grocery stores for people who are at 200% of the Federal Poverty Line or below.

FoodShare and grocery delivery during COVID-19: SNAP/FoodShare benefits on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card cannot normally be processed online. The following grocers have confirmed that they provide options for FoodShare participants to use online delivery:

  • Fresh Madison Market
  • Metcalfe’s
  • Willy Street Co-op

FoodShare benefits cannot be used to pay for the delivery fees.

WIC benefits are not able to be used for delivered products at this time.

Assigning a proxy or secondary user to your FoodShare account:

Households that are unable to access grocery outlets to use their FoodShare benefits have the ability to have someone shop for them by adding an Authorized Buyer or Alternate Payee to their account. An Authorized Buyer is added to a Foodshare account and both parties receive EBT cards for the same account. An Alternate Payee receives a card on behalf of the account holder. FoodShare users can request an authorized buyer or alternate payee be added to their account by completing the following form:

  • Add or Remove an Authorized Buyer or Alternate Payee for FoodShare Benefits
  • Once the form is received and entered by DHS, the card issuing agency will send the card to the appropriate individuals. The card remains active until you fill out a form to remove the person and card.
  • This process may take 5-7 days.


Grocery Store Updates

The following grocery stores offer online ordering and delivery. Call ahead or visit the store’s website to confirm availability of the service you are looking for:

Local Farm Options

Here is a list explaining how to buy from local farmers during this time: these farmers would have been at the Winter Farmers’ Market and/or selling to local restaurants.

FairShare CSA Coalition offers 50%, up to $300, towards fresh produce through their Partner Shares Program. Recipients can use multiple payment methods (SNAP, checks, credit) and will receive flexible payment plans. People can choose from over 40 local farms that deliver nearby (some farms also offer home delivery.) 

Help from Restaurants

Liliana’s in Fitchburg is hosting regular “pay what you can” soup days. People can buy soup for themselves or “pay it forward” and buy servings for others. Then, the restaurant offers soup from $0-$5 for people in need to take home. Leftover funds are donated to local organizations. The owner has been posting updates about this on his personal facebook page. The number for the restaurant is (608) 442-4444; ask if they’re having a Pay What You Can soup event today. Multiple kinds of soups including gluten free options for those with Celiacs Disease are often available! 

Morris Ramen offers free meals and cleaning supplies to restaurant workers who are financially struggling due to COVID-19, on Wednesday nights (has not been verified since summer).


🍼 Baby, Pet, Hygiene, and Home Care Resources

Diapers and Baby Supplies

WIC has closed its office. Services are still available via phone. New enrollments are being taken. Existing members and interested new participants can call 608-267-1111.

Project Babies is working on collecting diapers and other needed supplies at this time. This is their outreach number (you can call or text): 608-770-9588. Check their Facebook page for updates.

Here is their link for online referral and needs request: www.tinyurl.com/ProjectBabiesReferral

If you are able to make a financial donation here is their secure link: www.tinyurl.com/ProjectBabiesDonation

Dane County Diaper Drive is collecting diapers and will provide them at no cost to disadvantaged families: https://danediapers.org.

The Pregnancy Helpline is closed, and they have distributed their items to St. Vinny’s. The telephone helpline is still open for support (608-222-0008), and they are able to drop off Baby Care Packages and Safe Sleep pack ‘n plays to newborns. https://www.pregnancyhelpline.net/

Reach Dane is enrolling children ages 0-5 years in Early Head Start and Head Start. Enrolled families get immediate access to diapers, formula, and meals distributed weekly. They can provide families with early childhood education, mental health, and family supports virtually. www.reachdane.org or 608-577-6934        


Hygiene Products

Atwood Pantry stocks house cleaning and personal care products. They are in need of cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer and may not have these available. 2401 Atwood Avenue, located in the Church. Hours as of 12/11, according to website:

  • Thursdays: 11:30am-3pm
  • Sundays: 12-2pm

The Catholic Multicultural Center has a personal essentials pantry, open on Tuedays from 1:00-3:30. You must register between 1:00 and 3:00pm.

The Menstruation Collective can drop off kits of pads and tampons. Email Frankie: sfrank9@wisc.edu. www.facebook.com/themenstruationcollective/

The Greater Madison Resource Center may be able to help with sanitizer, soap, laundry soap, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning wipes, pads, tampons, and over-the-counter medicines. (608) 770-1174 / gmrcmadison@gmail.com / gmrcmadison.com

Laundry Love is a church-based program aiming to “lead people in to a life-changing relationship with Jesus.” They provide free laundry services, first-come, first-serve on the second Wednesday of each month, 7:00-8:30 PM, at 2115 Fish Hatchery Road and 4921 Commercial Ave. Call or text: 608-301-5254


Child Care Updates

We encourage you to contact your out-of-school-time child care provider to check the status of programming.

Families who are currently enrolled in Head Start/Early Head Start can check the Reach Dane webpage for the latest information or email info@reachdane.org.

  • Families wishing to enroll in Head Start/Early Head Start can do so online or call (608) 577-6934.

If you are looking for childcare:

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families offers childcare assistance to low income families through the Wisconsin Shares Program.

Families who are not eligible for Wisconsin Shares may be eligible for Madison’s child care tuition assistance program. Visit the Office of Community Services Childcare Assistance Program webpage or call (608) 267-4996.

The ParentChild+ program offers home visits to families with children between ages 2 and 4 to promote literacy. The program includes a free educational book or toy, and visits from a specialist 2 times per week for 2 years!

  • Children must be 2 years old on or before September 1st
  • Families must live in Dane County
  • Parent education and income restrictions may apply
  • Participation is not dependent on citizenship status or languages spoken
  • To learn more, call 608-729-1155.


Pet Care Resources

Click here for a spreadsheet with information about all nearby veterinary services. Includes hours during COVID-19, species of animals seen, contact info, etc.

The following Dane County food pantries distribute pet food (dry or canned) and cat litter (clumping or clay). Please check with each pantry for their hours of operation and participation requirements.

Wiscares provides medical supplies and food for companion animals, and free/low-cost boarding if an animal needs housing while someone is getting medical treatment. Website: wiscares.wisc.edu; email: wiscares@gmail.com.

UW Veterinary Hospital is now providing medically necessary appointments and on-going treatments to existing patients, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Emergency services are also available for any life-threatening emergencies. For more information visit https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/.

Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims (SAAV) provides temporary, confidential emergency shelter for up to 90 days for the pets of domestic abuse victims who are receiving services from Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS). All intake for SAAV occurs through DAIS at (608) 251-4445. SAAV also provides animal care grants directly to victims to help with the financial costs of animal care for victims who are receiving services from any Dane County domestic abuse agency or nonprofit organization. For more information on grants, info@saavprogram.org

Bike Repair Shops

Here is a map of bike repair shops and stations.


💲 Misc. Financial Resources

(see also: Political organizing / rent strikes / collective advocacy for groups organizing rent strikes and debt cancelation petitions)

For local financial aid resources, dial 211 or text your zip code to 898-211. You can also use https://211wisconsin.communityos.org/211guidedsearch2 to find resources by zipcode and keyword. Another option is to call 1-866-211-9966 and provide your zip code to get referred to local agencies.

For help navigating Madison’s financial supports, call City of Madison Financial Resources Hotline: 608-315-5151, 11am-7pm Mon-Fri; 12pm-5pm Sat.

Are you unable to travel to a new job due to vehicle issues? There is now a program in Dane County and several other WI counties that provides a no interest loan for repairing or buying a vehicle to get to work. Your household must be at or below 150% of the poverty line, you must have recently accepted a job, and you must need the vehicle to get to/from work. The loan repayment also has to fit in your monthly budget. Contact info here.

Dane County Human Services has a landing page for Emergency Assistance Grants, W2, FSET, and Unemployment with instructions on how to apply for each.

Transportation Resources

Job Access Loans are no-interest loans that can be used to pay for the following:

  • Assistance in paying for car repairs.
  • Car loans enabling participants to access transportation to work.
  • Paying fees, fines, or insurance in order to obtain a driver’s license.

Call Kim Murphy at (608) 665-9118 or email kmurphy@fsc-corp.org for an application (South Madison office). Job Access Loans from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families typically are to be repaid within a 12-month period, but may be extended up to a maximum of 24 months in individual circumstances.


WI Unemployment Information

People receiving WI unemployment insurance benefits will receive an extra $300 per week starting the first week of 2021 and ending the week of August 30, 2021.

Application link: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/apply/

Click here for an Instructional video on how to apply.

“DWD is experiencing an unprecedented call volume to our unemployment insurance and IT help lines. Unless you have received official notification from Unemployment Insurance that you must call our call center, please search for your answer at dwd.wi.gov/covid19/ or dwd.wi.gov/uiben/faqs in order to free up phone lines for folks who are required to call in.”

Who is eligible for unemployment now? (source)

  • If your workplace closed down or suspended operations due to Covid-19
  • If your hours have been reduced
  • If you are mandated to quarantine but healthy enough to work
  • Noncitizens who are authorized to work in the US
  • Wisconsin unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If an employer must shut down operations and no work is available, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the monetary criteria and the weekly eligibility criteria even if their employer has not told them they are laid off.”

Who is NOT eligible for unemployment?

  • Self-employed workers: you may be eligible for PUA, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
  • Most people who choose to self-quarantine: If your employer requires that you quarantine and does not allow you to work from home, you are eligible for unemployment during that period.
  • Anyone who is too sick to work.


Misc. Job Search Resources

Are you unable to travel to a new job due to vehicle issues? There is now a program in Dane County and several other WI counties that provides a no interest loan for repairing or buying a vehicle to get to work. Contact info here.

  • Your household must be at or below 150% of the poverty line
  • You must have recently accepted a job
  • You must need the vehicle to get to/from work.
  • The loan repayment also has to fit in your monthly budget.

Madison Urban League has employment specialists that are working digitally with clients. They also have a list of jobs that are still hiring and online training classes.  

Phone number:  (608) 729-1234; Email: opportunity@ulgm.org

Website: https://ulgm.org/employment-programs/application/ 

Catholic Multicultural Center provides help with job searching. Help is available on Tuesdays from 10:00am to 1:00pm and Thursdays 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Call Lilliam at 608-441-3257 for more information. CMC can help with job hunting, filling out forms, and applying for unemployment.

Moonrise is a private/for-profit platform that helps workers find occasional shifts/hours from businesses and organizations who are on the network.


Funds for Students & University Employees

For Madison College/MATC students, there are new crisis funds available, in part paid for by the CARES act. This page has more information and the application.

For UW-Madison students:

  • For emergency fund support and questions, you can also call 608-262-3060 between 10am and 2pm Monday through Friday, or email (preferred) covid-19@finaid.wisc.edu.
  • For International UW-Madison students, the ISS (International Student Services) sometimes offer crisis loans as well. Normally students must present to the office in-person to get support; consider emailing here: iss@studentlife.wisc.edu.

UW-Madison’s TAA (grad students' union) has a mutual aid fund set up for graduate students and their families to request up to $100 per semester, no strings attached. Application and details here: http://bit.ly/TAAmutualaid.

For Edgewood students:

  • The school discusses COVID-19 relief funds here. It is not clear whether these are still available. Approved students are to receive up to $1500 in 3 installments of $500.

UW-Madison Employee Emergency Loan: UW–Madison has established an emergency loan program to provide assistance to those employees who are experiencing financial hardship because they have been placed on Position-Specific Furlough or are working reduced hours in a Work-Share program.

  • The loans are available at zero percent interest.
  • For employees paid biweekly, the maximum amount of the loan is equal to their take home pay for two pay periods. For employees paid monthly, the maximum amount of the loan is equal to their take home pay for one pay period.
  • Employees on voluntary leave without pay, voluntary reduction of hours, or Campus-Wide, Intermittent Furlough are not eligible for an emergency loan.
  • All aspects of the loan process can be completed online. Alternatively, employees can arrange to pick up a paper application, drop off a completed application, or pick up a check for the loan amount. Additional details and the application form are available at go.wisc.edu/i5t2kj.

There is a free grocery box program available to UW-Madison students. More info here.


Support for Food and Beverage Industry 

Madison Service Industry Support: Facebook group for keeping track of relevant updates in Madison’s service industry. People also share their experiences with unemployment applications, stimulus checks, etc. here to stay up to date.

For people in the Food and Beverage industry, Southern Smoke Foundation has an emergency relief fund (not specific to COVID-19).

CORE Grants exist for restaurant workers with families, who require emergency support for family bills or medical bills.

Madison DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) is organizing restaurant workers, starting with an anonymous poll.

Morris Ramen offers free meals and cleaning supplies to restaurant workers who are financially struggling due to COVID-19, on Wednesday nights. Note: As of August, it is unconfirmed whether these community meals are still happening.

Funds for Small Business Owners & Self-Employed Workers

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for businesses dealing with losses during the pandemic: SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

  • Loans are available for up to $2 million.
  • These loans can provide working capital to meet the needs of payroll, accounts payable, and fixed debt payments until the situation improves.
  • Interest rates are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits.
  • How can you apply?

Self Employed workers cannot apply for Unemployment (as of now) but may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.  Contact the Wi Department of Workforce Development at 608-266-3131.


Other Emergency Funds

Arts Wisconsin has compiled a list of emergency funds and other financial resources for those in the creative economy, including the CARES Act, the Actors Fund, EqualSound relief fund for musicians, and several others. This list gets updated as more resources are added.

Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Authority is offering one-time grants up to $700 towards rent for members of the Ho-Chunk Nation and other Native American Tribal Enrolled Members. (link to application)

For undocumented Latinx/e immigrants, Latinx Consortium for Action Relief Fund via Centro Hispano has a fund small business owners and people who lost their employment. The phone number for Centro Hispano is (608) 255-3018.

Healthwell Foundation can put $250 towards costs “associated with delivered food, medication, diagnostics, transportation and telehealth as a result of COVID-19 risk or incidence.” See website for more information -- as of 12/11/2020, funds are currently closed, but may open back up again.


🧠 Mental Health Support

There is a free Madison Facebook group for mental health support and finding mental health resources to cope with the mental health effects of the pandemic and isolation.

Crisis Text Line is helpful for panic attacks and other emotionally intense moments. Text HOME to 741741; a bot will provide you with their terms of service and put you on a waitlist to text with a real person. Regular messaging rates apply, the service itself is free.

Trans Lifeline provides peer support for transgender and questioning people of all ages: 877-565-8860. Click here for information about what to expect when you call.

AARP Friendly Voice program will match isolated seniors with a trained volunteer to call them regularly for a social check-in. You can call and leave a message to get started at 1-888-281-0145. More information here: https://aarpmutualaid.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has created a website called Resilient Wisconsin. It has many resources on addressing toxic stress and trauma and specific resources relating to coping during COVID-19.

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.

For UW-Madison students, UHS crisis line (608-265-5600, option 9) and SilverCloud remain available 24/7. See updates about what other mental health services remain available here: https://www.uhs.wisc.edu/mental-health/.

Free Online, Video, and Phone AA meetings with local Madison community members.  

M.A.I.C.O: https://aamadisonwi.org/ 

Madison LGBTQ+ Outreach Center is offering LGBTQ+ group meetings online.

The Dane County TimeBank has launched a Community Helpline that is available from 4-8pm Monday through Friday. 1-866-RJustUs/1-866-758-7887. “If you know youth who have received municipal tickets from the police or if people are having difficulties with friends, family members, neighbors or anyone else, we can help talk you through the situation. We can also provide referrals to further resources.” More info here.

Local Telehealth/Online Counseling

Psychologytoday.com is a useful general resource when searching for a therapist.

Journey Mental Health and Rogers Behavioral Health are still offering in-person services for psychiatric emergencies, inpatient treatment, and certain outpatient programs.

Mental health counseling via phone call or video meeting is available at the following local appointment-only services. This list includes smaller practices which are currently open to taking new clients. These services are not free, but they do take several insurances and offer limited spots at a sliding scale fee:

Golden Vibes Counseling Center:

Phone: 608-571-0558. Email: contactus@goldenvibescounseling.com.

Gifts of Emotion - Trauma Specialized Counseling:

Phone: 608-301-5708. Scheduling form here.

Abegglen Counseling, based in Fitchburg:

Phone: 608-709-9672.

Insight Counseling & Wellness:

        Phone: (608)-244-4859.

Elite Cognition, LLC:

        Phone: (608) 286-1132.

Anesis Marriage and Family Therapy:

Phone: (608) 268-6530. Email: info@anesistherapy.com.

Clear Path Counseling & Wellness

Phone: (608) 800-7293 Email: info@clearpathmadison.com

Lake Monona Psychotherapy and Recovery Center

Phone: (608) 256-5030, press 0.


Online Self-Help Resources

PDF workbook for anxiety during COVID-19 from the Wellness Society.

Virus Anxiety is a toolkit for managing anxiety about the virus and the uncertainty we are all facing.

The Compassion and Resilience Toolkit has released a series of videos for staying Resilient During COVID-19.

Sesame Street has developed wellness videos and activities for the whole family.

Lived Wisdom on Panic, Worry, and Isolation: A document about the impacts of experiencing panic, worry, and isolation, and how people with mental health struggles have experienced and lived through these feelings.

7 Cups offers free self-help modules that you can complete at your own pace, free 24/7 online chat, and lower cost telehealth therapy options.

5 Ways to Self Care During Coronavirus and Self Care During Social Distancing

Coronavirus and Our Common Humanity- Message from the UW-Madison Center for Healthy Minds with tips for coping during unprecedented times.

Healthy Minds Innovations is offering the Healthy Minds Program App for free to individuals. There is no subscription fee, and no requirements. Try an audio practice on exploring change or try the full program.

Home Fitness for Adults

Bender Fitness: Free workouts and regular fitness challenges.

Canvas Club Boxing: Doing free Facebook live workouts.

Harbor Athletic Club: posting at-home workouts on their facebook page.

MadFit: YouTube channel with free at home workouts.

Obe Fitness: 30 day free trial with code ONTHEGO.

Summit Strength and Fitness: offering virtual classes on Facebook and Instagram.

Virtual Fitness with Emma Rose: classes from a fitness coach via Zoom; link allows you to register for specific times.

30 Minute No Equipment Cardio and HIIT Workout

30 Days of Yoga with Adriene: Free 30 day yoga program on YouTube. Emphasis on comfort/enjoyment rather than pure fitness; her yoga has been nicknamed “yoga for the people.” She also has a playlist of yoga for uncertain times.


📚 Enrichment for School Age Children Staying at Home

Discounted internet, or 60 days of free internet, may be available from Comcast and Spectrum. See Rent/Utility resource section in this document for more info.

Madison Metro. School District COVID-related updates here.

Madison Public Library has many free resources available online. Use your library card to access them. Don’t have a library card? Apply for a virtual library card here!

UW Extension 4-H has created a list of fun, hands-on learning projects to do at home for kids. Activities are listed by grade levels.

Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read Alouds and Activities

Milwaukee Brewers Summer Sluggers Reading Program - open early! Free to sign up! Summer Slugger is a continuous and engaging learning experience that uses the game of baseball to prepare students of all backgrounds to enter the next school year on track. 

General tips for supporting kids at home during this time.

Free Virtual Tutoring for Middle/High School Students in Madison - A small group of Madison neighbors have decided to donate their expertise to help families in need during COVID-19. In order to help as many students as possible, we ask that you sign up for tutoring on an as-needed basis when there is a specific problem or topic your student needs help with. Tutors are available for a variety of subjects.

Sample Daily Schedule for Learning At Home

MMSD Online Enrichment Resources - Available for MMSD students with internet access. All resources offer high-quality and free content. As a resource, students should start on their school’s library portal pages which are provided at the bottom of this document. Each school library portal will provide students access to databases and programs that they are currently using in their schools.

K-12 Teaching Possibilities in Pandemic Times: Facebook group with a community of people ready to problem solve at home learning issues who share many educational resources.

Preschool Homeschooling Schedule and Resources

Anti-Oppressive and Anti-Racist Home School Options During Quarantine

Break Packets for K-5 Students: Includes a variety of subjects for elementary ages children.

Big community list of Educational companies offering free subscriptions during COVID-19.

Scholastic Learn from Home - FREE pre-k-12 online resources to keep kids learning at home while schools are closed.

Audible.com is offering FREE streaming of books in multiple languages online for as long as schools are closed.

First Book Marketplace is a great place to order deeply discounted books for kids. Free shipping for orders over $25. Use promo code BOOKBANK15 for an additional 15% off orders.

Learn Online with Technology - List of online websites for home-based learning.

List of digital author resources - This is a website collecting events with read-alouds, face times, and other interactive online reading opportunities for families.

Home-based learning resources - Lots of ideas for how to engage kids with learning while at home. Also includes link to online museum tours of different museums across the world.

Giant List of Ideas for Things to Do While Home with Kids - Big list of easy to do activities while still keeping social distance from others.

16 Card Games that will Turn Your Children into Math Aces

Interview a Family Member - resource from TeachingTolerance.Org

List of at-home “science experiments” for kids with mostly common household items (each item on the list links to a page with more details).

Over 30 Virtual Field Trips - includes links to virtual tours to many places, like zoos, national parks, farms, outer space, and museums around the world (and universe!) 20

Virtual Field Trips - some overlap with the last resource and some new links.

Help with Homework - Facebook group with a community of parents and educators who are ready to help if you need help understanding your child’s school work or school-district issued enrichment packets.

Oceans Initiativ Free Marine Biology Camp: Free videos uploaded every week. (Article with more info)

NASA STEM Engagement: for grades K-4. Lots of resources and real-time videos!

Outdoor Learning Ideas (compiled by educators at Lake View Community School in Madison)

Beat the COVID-19 Blues With These Wildlife and Nature Livecams and Wild Bird Unlimited Barred Owl Cam

The Healthy Kids Collaborative has developed a Safe Outdoors 30 Day Challenge with activity ideas for being outside and staying active during COVID-19. Here is a video from the coordinator that demonstrates outdoor safety.

Free downloadable coloring pages from a UW-Madison art student, Will Santino.

Kid-Friendly Activities About COVID-19

A comic written for children about COVID-19; see also this interactive website with activities for kids to learn about COVID-19:

School’s Closing, Now What? - provides tips for how to support children and families while schools are closed and includes links to resources.

Social Story for Kids to Understand Why School is Closed - translated into seven languages. Includes directions for use. Audio book available on YouTube.

Kid-Friendly Art Classes / Project Ideas

Rustic Orchid Creative Workshop uploads free art lessons for children: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2nzX48Ucr1MIEpg0fCOJ6A/

Short Art Project YouTube Videos by Art Room Glitter Fairy. Sarah Krajewski, art teacher at Cambridge Elementary and last year’s Wisconsin Art Educator of the Year, is uploading free art lessons for kids almost daily.

Kid-Friendly Fitness Ideas

GoNoodle: many different videos on YouTube to promote movement and work on gross motor skills.

PE with Joe: live daily 30 minute workout with British PE teacher on YouTube, aimed at kids. Workout requires little space and no equipment. Started Monday the 23rd.

PE at Home with Ben: free workouts from PE teacher, Ben Schenk, on YouTube