HCPS ‘Grab and go’ program starts this week
Hillsborough County Public Schools delivered food to area schools March 18 to prepare for the start of its “Grab and go” program for students 18 and under.
The program, which started Monday and runs through April 15, offers free food pickup for students from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at select elementary, middle and high schools. Kids are limited to one package of food per day, but each contains nutritious meals of both breakfast and lunch.
Plant City-area pickup locations are Durant High School, Plant City High School and Strawberry Crest High School. Armwood and Brandon high schools, which are close to the Plant City area, are other nearby options.
Visit https://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/ for more information.
PCPD closes front lobby
Plant City Police Department’s front lobby is temporarily closed to the public, but the department is still offering its services to citizens.
Call 813-757-9200 for non-emergency police assistance. Call 813-707-2226 or 813-707-2234, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, for records requests.
The lobby will be re-opened at a date to be announced later.
HCSO implements more coronavirus procedures
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s efforts to help fight the speed of coronavirus ramped up further last week.
On March 18, Sheriff Chad Chronister announced HCSO, at Chief Judge Ronald FIccarotta’s order, would release 164 low-level, non-violent offenders from the Orient Road and Falkenburg Road jails in order to help prevent the spread of the virus to other inmates, detention deputies, staff members and their families. If any of the released inmates reoffends, however, they will go back to jail.
“As your Sheriff, there is nothing I take more seriously than public safety and protecting our community,” Chronister said. “In times of crisis, like the health crisis we are facing, agencies around the country are finding ways to balance public safety and the health of their employees and neighbors. We are no different… these defendants are the lowest public safety risk and many were merely sitting in jail because they could not afford to pay the amount it would take to bond out. These defendants will still have to answer for the criminal charges against them.”
HCSO said there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in either jail as of March 19.
Chronister also ordered the suspension of eviction proceedings through April 20, though writs of possession will still be accepted. Landlords and property owners can file for evictions, but no orders will be executed by HCSO until April 20.
“I cannot in good faith evict families from their homes because they are unable to work to pay their rent or mortgage during this national time of crisis,” Chronister said. “Removing people from the security of their homes during this vulnerable time would be a contradiction to our mission at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office: to protect and serve.”
RCMA child development centers operating
The RCMA has shut down its charter schools in Immokalee and Wimauma, but its child development centers will continue to operate wherever needed.
Because the RCMA is funded by state and federal sources, it’s following Florida Department of Health and CDC guidelines while remaining open. The centers are providing children with meals and sharing cleaning supplies with RCMA parents, and the group also said it’s not forcing families to pay any fees while their children stay at home if they wish to practice social distancing.
“We primarily serve migrant families and this is the height of the agricultural season,” Isabel Garcia, RCMA executive director, said. “Our parents depend on this work to sustain their families. They are picking fruits and vegetables that are ripe throughout Florida. We were founded 55 years ago to provide a safe place for the children of migrant families while their parents worked, and we continue that commitment today. Our parents need to work, the crops need to be harvested, and the consumer needs this food for their table. In addition, we provide breakfast, lunch and snacks to the children in our care. So, it is important that we remain open and provide this nutritional service.”
Plant City’s RCMA childcare and education centers are located at 508 Lakewood Ave., 3102 Sammonds Road Apt. #82 and 2701 DeMontmollin Road, and Dover has a center at 3103 San Jose Mission Drive. Visit rcma.org for more information.
SBA disaster loans, deferment for small businesses
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced March 18 that small businesses anywhere in Florida can apply for disaster loans if they’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations can use SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for up to $2 million in economic assistance to help overcome revenue losses and pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. Interest rates are as low as 3.75 percent for businesses without credit available elsewhere, but businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75 percent. Loan amounts are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. Repayment terms are up to 30 years.
To apply, visit the SBA Disaster website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. For more information, please call the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email email@example.com.
The SBA also announced Monday existing disaster loans are to be deferred through December 31, so anyone already borrowing a home or business disaster loan will not need to request deferment.
CareerSource Tampa Bay, tax collector offices close for now
CareerSource Tampa Bay announced last week that all of its offices are now temporarily closed through April 19.
Though the Plant City office at 307 N. Michigan Ave. is closed until then, CSTB staff is still available online and by phone to help customers and onsite partners.
“We are taking our direction from the state regarding these closings and limiting access to all of our centers,” CEO John Flanagan said in a press release. “By protecting the health and safety of our workforce, it is our hope we will be able to provide customers with services well into the coronavirus crisis.”
Visit careersourcetampabay.com for more information.
Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden announced March 19 all tax collector offices are closed until further notice, but back-office personnel who answer the phones and process mail and online transactions are still working.
Visit hillstax.org for up-to-date information about changes in tax due dates, filing dates, payment methods and more.