SNAP Emergency Allotments End in February
In February, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) will release the final issuance of emergency allotment benefits to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. This is in accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, a new law passed by Congress that ends VDSS’ authorization to issue benefits through the temporary federal program established in response to COVID-19. The last benefits will be loaded in SNAP customers’ Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards on Thursday, Feb. 16.
In March 2020, SNAP households began receiving this temporary emergency benefit through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (2020). Per federal guidelines, states were required to request a monthly waiver to issue these benefits. VDSS submitted these requests each month to continue providing additional food benefits to SNAP households. Since March 2020, the Commonwealth has issued more than 2.1 billion dollars in emergency allotments and raised the monthly emergency allotments to the maximum amount for more than 900,000 Virginians. Emergency allotment have already ended in 17 states, according to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
Beginning in March, households will permanently return to their pre-pandemic allowances and receive their regular SNAP benefits on their usual day of issuance (on the 1st, 4th, or 7th day of the month). For further awareness about this change, VDSS also mailed letters directly to SNAP households. To support recipients during this transition, VDSS has created a dedicated webpage for more information and resources, or recipients may contact the temporary information line at 1-855-635-4370, Monday- Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. TTY assistance is available by calling 800-552-7917 or 866-246-9300. SNAP participants also may contact their local department of social services or visit CommonHelp for questions or account information.
For assistance with applying for food benefits, visit the VDSS SNAP webpage. To access information regarding resources statewide and in your local community, please contact 2-1-1 Virginia or visit the VDSS food and other nutritional assistance page.
Hanover County Food Pantry Calendar Now Available
Hanover County has a network of 18 non-profit food pantries that provide food to individuals and families in need across the county! Members from the local food pantries meet monthly to address ways to combat food insecurity in Hanover County through collaboration while creating a pathway to enhance food independence for people they serve. To learn more about Food Pantries in Hanover County and how to access their services, view the Hanover Food Pantry Service Day Calendar and Information Sheet on the Community Resources webpage. For more information about the Hanover Food Network, please contact the Department of Community Resources at 804-365-4300 or [email protected].
Parks and Recreation Hosts Black History Month Events
In February, the Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting special events in honor of Black History Month. Registration is available on the Parks and Recreation webpage. Unless otherwise specified, events are free.
- An Evening with Rosa Parks– Attendees will interact with Storyteller and Character Actor, Theresa G, as she depicts Rosa Parks, known as the First Lady of the Civil Rights movement. No registration required, light refreshments will be served, open to all ages.
- Friday, Feb. 17, 6-7 p.m., at the Hanover Museum of History and Culture (7496 County Complex Road, Hanover, VA 23069)
- Wine Tasting– Lance and Kristen, co-founders of Richmond-based RichWine, will curate a selection of wines from Black-owned wineries in Virginia and across the globe. Each participant will receive a commemorative glass and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Open to those aged 21 or older. Ticket cost is $40.
- Friday, Feb. 24, 6-8:30 p.m., at the Hanover Museum of History and Culture (7496 County Complex Road, Hanover, VA 23069)
- Hanover Academy Art Display– The Hanover Black Heritage Society joins with the Hanover Academy for a special art display which explores Black women leaders in our community. No registration required, open to all ages.
- The Hanover Museum of History and Culture (7496 County Complex Road, Hanover, VA 23069) is open weekly, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Social Security Administration Webpage Updates
The Social Security Administration has launched a redesigned website to help clients find what they need more easily. Visit www.SSA.gov to learn more about Social Security programs.
The page includes the following resources and more!
- my Social Security — At www.ssa.gov/myaccount, you can open a personal my Social Security account to verify your earnings, view your Social Security Statement, get benefit estimates and more.
- Social Security blog — This blog at www.blog.ssa.gov is a hub for Social Security news and updates.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) — The Social Security FAQ page at www.ssa.gov/faq provides answers to Social Security-related questions.
- Retirement Application — Go to www.ssa.gov/retirement to complete and submit an online application for retirement benefits in as few as 15 minutes.
- Disability Application — Go to www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability to conveniently apply online for disability benefits.
- Publications — SSA’s online publication library at www.ssa.gov/pubs houses text and audio versions of publications on many subjects.
- Medicare — Sign up for Medicare at www.ssa.gov/medicare/sign-up.
- Online Services — Most Social Security business can be done online through the SSA online services page at www.ssa.gov/onlineservices.
- Forms — Find and fill out Social Security forms easily at www.ssa.gov/forms.
- Fraud and Scam Prevention and Reporting — Learn how to recognize Social Security fraud and scams - and how to report them - at www.ssa.gov/fraud.
INTERESTED IN JOINING THE HANOVER COUNCIL ON AGING?
The Hanover Council on Aging is looking for representatives for the Chickahominy, Cold Harbor Henry and Mechanicsville districts. The council serves as a consultative and advisory body on issues pertaining to the quality of life of Hanover County citizens ages 50 and over. The council plans and hosts several special programs during the year to share information on services and resources for older adults. Visit www.hanovercounty.gov/470/Hanover-County-Council-on-Aging to learn more.
Hanover County’s Department of Community Resources is hosting the Hanover Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) Kickoff Party at the Patrick Henry YMCA on Saturday, March 25, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Youth can learn about how to get involved in their community, sign up for April GYSD projects, participate in mini-service projects, play games and more! Mark your calendars and keep an eye out for more information in the coming weeks!
NOMINATE INSPIRING INDIVIDUALS, ORGANIZATIONS OR BUSINESSES FOR THE 2023 SPIRIT OF VOLUNTEERISM AWARDS!
Nominations are now open for the 2023 Spirit of Volunteerism Awards, an annual program that recognizes individuals or groups who have made major contributions to the quality of life in Hanover County through their volunteer efforts.
Nominations may be submitted in the following eight categories:
Spirit of One
Spirit of Youth
Spirit of Youth – Team
Spirit of Dedication
Spirit of Team
Spirit of Family
Spirit of Inspiration
Commitment to Community
The nomination deadline is Friday, March 10. For more information, visit https://www.hanovercounty.gov/1228/spirit-of-volunteerism.
HANOVER YOUTH SERVICE COUNCIL SEEKING DONATIONS OF HYGIENE SUPPLIES!
In February, the Hanover Youth Service Council, HYSC, is hosting a Hygiene Supply Drive to collect supplies to donate to local food pantries. The drive benefits low-income individuals in Hanover, who come to the food pantries not only for food, but also for personal hygiene items. Donation boxes for students are available in each of the Hanover middle and high schools. Public donation boxes are available at the Ashland Branch Library (201 S Railroad Ave., Ashland, VA 23005) and the Hanover County Department of Community Resources (12310 Washington Hwy., Ashland, VA 23005). Contact Morgan Lindsay at [email protected] or 804-365-4180 for more information.
HANOVER COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES OFFERS FOSTER PARENT TRAINING OPPORTUNITY
Hanover County DSS now offers PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education) training to families wishing to serve their communities as foster parents! The county is in need of foster parents for all ages, but especially for teenagers. This competency-based curriculum trains and supports families in five categories: protecting and nurturing children, meeting children's developmental needs and addressing developmental delays, supporting children's relationships with their birth families, connecting children to safe, nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime, and working as a member of a professional team.
Training Dates: March 7, March 14, March 21, March 28, April 11 and April 17.
All trainings start promptly at 6 p.m. at 12304 Washington Highway, Ashland, VA 23005
Contact Devon S. Parham at [email protected] or 804-365-4135 for more information or to sign up.
NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR THE COMMONWEALTH COUNCIL ON AGING 2023 BEST PRACTICES AWARDS
The Commonwealth Council on Aging is sponsoring the 2023 Best Practices Award Program targeted to organizations serving older Virginians and their families. The awards will be given to innovative programs and services that assist older adults to age in the community. The Commonwealth aims to recognize creativity in services, such as livable communities, home and community-based supports, transportation, housing, caregiver supports, intergenerational programming and more.
Complete instructions, nomination forms and information on previous Best Practices Award winners are posted on the DARS Aging Boards and Councils webpage.
Nominations for the 2023 awards must be received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1. The council will recognize the first, second and third place winners and up to three honorable mention programs. Award winners will be notified in late March.
HANOVER SENIOR RIDES SEEKING VOLUNTEER DRIVERS!
Hanover Senior Rides provides free rides to those who can no longer drive, including seniors and people with disabilities. The program is operated in Mechanicsville by the Mechanicsville Churches Emergency Functions (MCEF) and in Ashland by the Ashland Christian Emergency Services (ACES). Hanover Senior Rides is currently seeking ride coordinators and volunteer drivers. The volunteers use their own vehicles to take people to medical appointments, grocery shopping and for personal business. They are paid 50 cents per mile as reimbursement for gas. For more information, contact MCEF at 804-357-9360 or ACES at 804-543-6115 or visit https://4mcef.com and https://aceshanover.org/services.
SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY
Are you looking to get involved? Here are some ideas for ways you can give back to your community, support local organizations and get community service hours!
Monday, Feb. 27, 2:45-4:15 p.m. – Recreational activities with adults with disabilities in Montpelier – Hanover County Parks and Recreation is seeking caring, patient and enthusiastic volunteers to lead recreational activities for adults with disabilities or special needs. Volunteers are needed to help lead activities such as chair fitness exercises, games, music and movement, crafts and more. Dress casually and be prepared for outdoor activities. If inclement weather occurs, the program will move to the nearby community center. For more information or to sign up, visit HandsOn Greater Richmond | Assist adults with disabilities in recreational activities (Montpelier, VA) (handsonrva.org).
Ongoing Service Opportunities
The Arc of Hanover Thrift Store is an organization that advocates for the rights and full participation of children and adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. They are seeking volunteers to work in their store doing cashiering, cleaning and pricing items, replenishing shelves and receiving donations. Store hours are Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Arc of Hanover is seeking volunteers to work split shifts or full days, particularly on Saturday. For more information, contact 804-798-2400 or [email protected].
CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation is an organization that provides assistance to families of children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Volunteers are needed to make meals for these families on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of each month. For more information, visit CJ's Thumbs Up Foundation - Home (cjstuf.org) and CJ's Thumbs Up Foundation: CJ's Sandwich Making Crew (signupgenius.com).
Hanover Christian Firewood Ministry is an organization that provides wood to more than 35 families who rely on firewood as their primary source of heat. They split and deliver wood every Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon or 9 a.m.-1 p.m., depending on the time of year. For more information, contact Carl Heckel at 804-559-8824.
Hanover and King William Habitat for Humanity Faith Build is a partnership with local faith-based organizations and businesses. Local churches and friends of the faith community gather to help build and fund a home for a local family. For more information, visit Faith Build - Hanover & King William Habitat for Humanity (hkwhabitat.org) or email Amanda Gunter at [email protected].
YMCA Feedmore Food Pantry is seeking volunteers to help with food distribution on the first Tuesday of each month, 10 a.m.-noon. Distribution takes place in the Ashland Junction shopping center (located at 123 Junction Drive, Ashland, VA 23005). For more information, contact Bri Kropinack at [email protected].
Databases for Finding Upcoming Service Events in Your Community
HandsOn Greater Richmond (handsonrva.org)
Other Ways You Can Get Involved
Inquire about volunteer opportunities at your local nursing home!
Reach out to your local food pantry and ask if they are in need of any specific food items or volunteers!
If you are part of a local organization and would like to share your service events in an upcoming Community Resources E-Newsletter, email [email protected].
SERVICES & PROGRAMS
Our team at Hanover Community Resources is here to assist you or your clients in finding available resources. We are here 8:30am-5:00pm Monday-Friday. Call us at 804-365-4300 or email [email protected].
Crisis Assistance: Heating
Crisis assistance for heating is intended to meet a household’s emergency heating need, when no other resource is available. Applications are accepted for a one-time-only heat security deposit and/or heating equipment repair/purchase online at https://commonhelp.virginia.gov/access/, through the Enterprise Customer Service Center, and at local departments of Social Services from Nov. 1-March 15. Assistance is based on the availability of funds.
Applications are accepted for the purchase of home heating fuel and the payment of heat utility bill online at https://commonhelp.virginia.gov/access/, through the Enterprise Customer Service Center, and at local departments of Social Services from the first workday in January through March 15. Assistance is based on the availability of funds.
EnergyShare — Heating
EnergyShare-Heating is a crisis program of last resort that helps pay energy bills for any type of heating (wood, oil, natural gas, propane, kerosene, electric) for those who qualify. EnergyShare is not income based, so any customer in crisis is eligible to apply. Applications for heating are accepted from Oct. 1-May 31. Customer applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility. If approved, the benefit is paid directly to the customer’s energy provider. Individuals 60 and older may be eligible for additional assistance. Military veterans and those individuals living with disabilities may qualify for an additional $500 benefit if participating in the voucher programs of the Department of Veteran Services or the Centers for Independent Living.
Hanover and King William Habitat for Humanity Critical Repair Program
Habitat envisions a world where everyone has a decent place to live – that includes a home that is accessible, dry, safe and energy efficient. Habitat’s Critical Repair program offers reduced-cost repairs to address safety issues and code violations. Habitat is taking applications for Hanover and King William residents. To learn more, visit https://hkwhabitat.org/critical-repairs or contact Kimberly Bell at 804-569-6108, x105.
Hanover Real Estate Tax Relief Program
Hanover County has a real estate tax relief program available for residents who are elderly or permanently disabled and who have a net worth of $300,000 or less and a combined household gross income of $52,500 or less. The application is due March 1, 2023 for the relief to be applied to the tax bills due on June 5, 2023.
Applicants must be 65 years or older or permanently disabled and must own or partially own the property and have lived in it on December 31. If the applicant is in a hospital or extended care facility, he or she may still qualify as long as the house is not rented or leased.
For more information or to access the application forms, call the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue at 804-365-6128 or visit www.hanovercounty.gov.
Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
Customers of the Hanover County Department of Public Utilities can apply online for assistance from Virginia’s Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), a temporary federal-funded program created to assist low-income households with water and wastewater bills. To be eligible for LIHWAP, your household must have a past due water or wastewater balance and a household income below the LIHWAP guidelines based on household size. Priority will be given to households whose water or wastewater has been disconnected or is at a risk of disconnection.
For more information or to apply online, go to https://virginialihwap.com/lihwap or call Promise at 1-888-373-9908.
Thrive VA Crisis Assistance
Thrive Virginia is an organization that seeks to empower individuals and families to become self-sufficient, live with dignity and achieve optimum health. They offer utility assistance with limited available funding. Individuals and families are eligible for emergency financial assistance if they have met the income guidelines for the past 30 days. The guidelines are located at https://www.thriveva.org/emergency-financial-assistance. For more information, call 804-966-8770 or email [email protected].
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) administers the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). WAP reduces household energy use through the installation of cost-effective energy savings measures, which also improve resident health and safety. Common measures including sealing air leaks, adding insulation, and repairing heating and cooling systems. DHCD works with a network of nonprofit organizations around the state, who directly implement the program. More information is available at https://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/wx.
The WIC program is for pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and for women with infants and children up to age five. The program provides nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, as well as access to nutritious foods and formula. To be eligible for the WIC program, applicants must meet residential, income and nutrition requirements. Mothers and children with active Medicaid or SNAP are automatically eligible. To apply or schedule an appointment, call 804-365-4335.
Free In-Home Parenting Education
Do you know a parent or parents who could use additional parenting education and support? This service is available to pregnant women or mothers with children up to 5 years old who live in Hanover County and is provided in the family’s own home at no cost. It is designed to offer education related to healthy pregnancies, positive parenting skills, child development activities and knowledge about child developmental stages. The program also assists families to connect with various community resources to help address the needs of parents and children during the stages of early childhood. The program is a partnership between Hanover County and Family Lifeline. For more information or to make a referral, contact Family Lifeline at 804-249-5414 or [email protected].
Hanover Cares: Hidden in Plain Sight Workshop
Hanover Cares, Teens Care Too, Hanover Community Services Board, Hanover County Public Schools and the Hanover County Sherriff’s Office are partnering to offer a Hidden in Plain Sight workshop for parents of teens. Hidden in Plain Sight is a free community initiative to help educate parents on possible signs of drug and alcohol use by teens. A teenager’s bedroom is replicated to allow parents to “snoop” around to find indicators of drug use and hiding spots. The event will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at First Union Baptist Church (6231 Pole Green Rd., Mechanicsville, VA 23116). Pre-registration is required for the event and is available at https://tinyurl.com/2Y74XWDV.
Hanover Community Services Board: Virtual Parent Education Series
Hanover County Community Services Board and Hanover County Public Schools are partnering on a free virtual parent education series that takes place throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. Registration links for the series are distributed monthly through the E-Connect system. For more information, contact Dana Gaskin, Child and Family Specialist at Hanover Community Services, at 804-365-4238.
Senior and Caregiver Resources
Annual Update on Aging in Virginia
The Virginia Center on Aging and the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services presented the Annual Update on Aging on Wednesday, Jan. 25, where the organizations shared how their work advances the health, well-being and equity of the elders of today and tomorrow. The webinar recording and presentation slides are posted on the Virginia Center on Aging website.
DARS also has a robust library of needs assessment materials that are currently available for the public. These materials include statewide reports and those specific to locality or region.
Finding Value in Your Prime Registration Now Open
Registration for the 5th Annual Finding Value in Your Prime: An Active Aging Event, sponsored by Hanover Council On Aging, Hanover Department of Community Resources, Hanover Department of Parks and Recreation, AARP and the Hanover Ashland Triad, is now open on the Parks and Recreation webpage. Finding Value in Your Prime will take place on Thursday, April 13, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Fairmont Christian Church (6502 Creighton Road, Mechanicsville). Attendees will participate in presentations on active lifestyles, health and happiness, receive a complimentary light breakfast and box lunch and have the opportunity to win prizes! There will be a special Centenarian Recognition during the event. For more information or to register over the phone, contact the Department of Community Resources at 804-365-4300.
Hanover DASH provides personalized transportation to medical appointments, grocery stores, errands, employment and formal social programs for those aged 65 and up and persons with a disability. To apply to be a Hanover DASH rider, simply fill out a short registration form with documentation to confirm Hanover County residency and proof of age (65 or over) or disability (short or long term). Rides are offered in collaboration with UZURV, an adaptive transportation network company.
Contact Hanover DASH with questions at 804-365-3274 or visit www.HanoverDASH.org for more information.
Senior Connections: Caregiver Directed Respite Support
Senior Connections now offers a Caregiver Directed Respite Support program to provide a caregiver the opportunity to focus on their own well-being. The program includes consultation for emotional support and education, assistance in developing a Long-Term Care plan, a financial stipend designated to get the plan in action and resources for supplemental services. To see if you qualify for the Caregiver Directed Respite Support grant, contact the Senior Connections Caregiver Support Specialist at 804-672-4498 or [email protected].
YMCA Social Needs Navigator
The YMCA’s Social Needs Navigator shares information about free and reduced-price resources in Hanover, such as food, clothes, childcare, housing and healthcare. For more information, visit https://help1rva.org or call 804-798-0057.
Food Network Meeting
The Department of Community Resources is having a Food Network meeting on Tuesday, March 14, 2 p.m., in the DSS conference room. For more information, call 804-365-4300 or email [email protected].
Hanover Community Services Board: Mental Health First Aid Training
Hanover County Community Services Board is offering Mental Health First Aid training for people who work with adults and youth. Participants will learn common signs and symptoms of mental health and substance abuse challenges, how to interact with a person in crisis and how to connect a person with help. You also will gain expanded knowledge about trauma, substance use and self-care. For more information, contact Hanover County Community Services Board at 804-365-4222. To register for Mental Health First Aid Training, visit www.tinyurl.com/bhwmhfa.
Mental Health First Aid Training for those who work with Adults:
- Thursday, March 9, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (Virtual)
- Monday, May 22, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (In-Person)
Mental Health First Aid Training for those who work with Youth:
- Monday, June 5, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (In-Person)
Hanover Human Services Network Meeting
The next Hanover Human Services Network meeting will be held on Thursday, April 6, 3-5 p.m., at the Hanover Human Services Meeting Room located at 12310 Washington Highway, Ashland, VA (in the back of the complex). All human service organizations, including governmental, faith-based, non-profit and civic clubs serving the Hanover community are invited to participate in this quarterly collaborative roundtable. Program representatives will have an opportunity to network with one another, present information about their programs, identify common issues and connect to develop solutions. Click here to RSVP.
For additional questions, contact the Department of Community Resources at 804-365-4300 or email at [email protected].
For additional questions contact the Department of Community Resources at 804-365-4300 or [email protected].