To our United Way Suncoast community –
As we begin the reopening process across our community and state, we understand that many of you are still concerned about the health of yourselves and your families and many are still struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 (coronavirus). United Way Suncoast will be here to help our community through this crisis and beyond.
We will continue updating this site on a regular basis to provide you with the most up-to-date information and resources you need to help guide you through this crisis.
COVID-19 Reopening Plans
Phase 1 of reopening has begun across the state and in all of our counties. See links below to access information for your county and see the statewide Phase 1 plan here.
COVID-19 Testing is available in each of the five counties we serve, but requirements vary. Please visit your county link below to find locations, times and other important information about testing.
United Way Suncoast Resource Centers and After-School Programs
Our Sulphur Springs (Tampa), North Greenwood (Clearwater) and Campbell Park (St. Petersburg) Resource Centers will remain closed until further notice, following all CDC and local government orders. Additionally, the Earl & Mary Watts After-School Program at Janie's Garden (Sarasota) is closed indefinitely. We apologize for the inconvenience but are doing our part to help all of our community stay healthy. While we are unable to provide in-person services, we are still working to provide you access to the resources you need during this challenging time. For urgent situations, please call 2-1-1. We will reopen as soon as it is determined safe.
VITA Tax Sites
The tax filing deadline has been delayed until July 15, 2020, although the IRS is encouraging anyone anticipating a refund to file now. If you owe money on your taxes, payments are being deferred until July 15, 2020 as well. For more information, please visit irs.gov/coronavirus.
Following recommendations from the CDC and Florida Dept. of Health, United Way Suncoast continues to offer our VITA services virtually. You can file your taxes for free online at myfreetaxes.com or the IRS-certified free file site. Additional tools to help you include a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
We are currently providing taxpayer assistance at our VA Bay Pines location (10000 Bay Pines Blvd., Bay Pines, FL, 33744) by appointment only. Requirements:
- Call (727) 398-6661 x10008 to schedule an appointment.
- A federal photo ID is required. If married and filing a joint return, both spouses must present ID.
- A social security card is required for all family members. No copies.
- Arrive 20 minutes before your appointment as you will be stopped and asked several screening questions.
- You will be required to wear face protection.
Coronavirus Information Sources
The Florida Department of Health contains detailed information about coronavirus cases across the state as well as a COVID-19 toolkit with tip sheets including identifying your symptoms, how to limit exposure and prevent coronavirus and when to get tested.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, working to protect Americans from health, safety and security risks. The CDC is a valuable resource for coronavirus information including tracking cases across the U.S. and globally.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has useful tips and information to help you avoid any coronavirus-related scams.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has information on protecting your finances from COVID-19 including protecting your credit and dealing with debt.
How Can I Get Help?
We work with a variety of community partners who can provide assistance should you experience financial hardship due to prolonged work stoppage or other effects of the coronavirus.
Our entire 5-county region is served by 2-1-1 which helps those in crisis access the community resources they need. You can dial 2-1-1 from any phone to be connected in your area.
To access their websites:
All Faiths Food Bank (serving DeSoto and Sarasota)
Provides access to food pantries, the DeSoto Food and Resource Center and more through the Food Finder section of their website.
Feeding Tampa Bay (serving Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas)
Provides access to mobile food pantries, mobile markets, a community market and more through the Find Food section of their website.
The Food Bank of Manatee (serving Manatee)
Operated by Meals on Wheels Plus, The Food Bank of Manatee provides food through food pantries, soup kitchens and home-delivered meals to qualifying individuals. For a list of food pantries and soup kitchens, click here. To find out if you qualify for home-delivered meals and to register for the program, please click here.
DeSoto County Schools
Grab-and-Go lunches and snack bags are available for students up to age 18 from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (M-F), at DeSoto Middle, Nocatee Elementary, Casa San Juan Bosco and Louis Anderson Park. Additional bus sites are available. Click here for locations and times.
Hillsborough County Schools
Beginning April 15, Grab-and-Go sites will provide food one day a week only. Families can pick up a week's worth of food for students 18 and younger between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 147 locations. Parents are encouraged to go to school where their children are enrolled. Click here for more information.
Manatee County Schools
Grab-an-Go sites providing lunch and breakfast for the next day are available to students 18 and younger from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at school and community sites, and various times at bus sites. Flyer (english) Flyer (spanish)
Pinellas County Schools
Serving lunch and breakfast for the next day in a single bag for students 18 and younger from March 23 - April 15 at nine school locations. Times vary per location. Student must be present to receive meal. Both drive-up and walk-up are available. Click here for locations and more information.
Sarasota County Schools
Serving lunch and breakfast for the next day to students 18 and younger from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at five locations until schools reopen. Children must be in the car with the parent or guardian. Click here for locations and more information.
Income and Financial Stability Resources
Government Stimulus Payments
Visit Economic Impact Payment Information Center for all the information you need on the economic stimulus checks.
Non-filers can visit this IRS site to find out if they are eligible for the stimulus check and safely sign up to receive it.
Visit apply for benefits to find out if you are eligible for reemployment assistance due to COVID-19 and file a claim.
Job Focus - jobs available in Manatee and Sarasota
Employ Florida - links all of Florida’s state and local workforce services and resources
CareerSource Florida - connects Floridians with jobs and career development opportunities through a network of 100 career centers
Tampa Bay Business Journal - article listing companies hiring in Tampa Bay
Small Business Loans
The state of Florida has enacted the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to assist small business owners experiencing economic damage. Please visit https://floridadisasterloan.org/ for more information or to apply.
The City of St. Petersburg has established the Fighting Chance Fund to provide relief to small business (and their employees) impacted by COVID-19. These grants are available to locally owned and independently operated small businesses (visit Fighting Chance Fund link above for eligibility requirements). Grants are $5,000 for businesses and $500 for employees.
Here's a handy guide to small business loans through the CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Additional Financial Resources
The City of Tampa has established the Relief Now, Rise Together Fund to help residents and small businesses pay for their rent/mortage and essential utilities. The grants do not have to be paid back.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County are offering free childcare for school-age children of essential healthcare workers. Visit here for more info and to fill out an application.
Mental Health Resources
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a Disaster Distress Helpline available 24/7, 365 for anyone experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Please call 1-800-985-5990 or visit SAMHSA.
Florida Blue has set up a free bilingual support line staffed by trained behavioral health counselors. They are available to help all Floridians deal with stress, anxiety, trauma and grief caused by coronavirus. Please call 1-833-848-1762, 24/7.
Directions For Living has an emotional support line set up to help those having a hard time dealing with the pandemic. Please call (727) 524-4464 x1001, M-F from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Leave your name and number and someone will call you back within two hours.
Please visit our COVID-19 Educational Resources page for lesson plans, science experiments, activities, games and more to keep students excited about learning while at home.
Additional COVID-19 Resources
The Tampa Recovery Hotline is open M-F, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. for information on social services and business relief related to COVID-19. Call 1-833-TPA-INFO.
The Humane Society is offering free pet food every Tuesday from 12-7 p.m. and every Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monthly delivery is available for homebound and elderly citizens. For more information, visit food assistance or call 813-876-7138 x0.
How Can I Help?
For those interested in volunteering, United Way Suncoast is receiving requests from community partners to respond to current needs in our region. Please visit this page to view the current list of opportunities.
The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage due to COVID-19. If you are able to donate blood, please go to Red Cross Blood or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to make an appointment.
If you are not in need of assistance, we hope that you will consider making a donation to our COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and provide immediate support to those most vulnerable to the economic and basic needs issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This includes help with access to food, emergency assistance, and additional critical needs of our community’s families.