The following resources are available for people during the COVID-19 situation.

Pine River and Backus Free Community Meals

Free community meals in Pine River and Backus are continuing with slight changes. The free meal at Riverview Church in Pine River is take-out only from 4-6 p.m. Mondays.

After a brief hiatus, the Backus meals at the Senior Center have resumed from 4-6 p.m. Thursdays. Meals are curbside take-out only.

PR-B Family Center

The Pine River-Backus Family Center is continuing to offer services and referrals in a way that does not risk its small staff. Staff is performing MNsure assistance phone calls, home visitation phone calls and almost anything the center normally does, so long as those functions can be done electronically.

Vouchers and forms may be able to be passed through the family center door, but those requesting them need to call 218-587-4292.

Faith in Action

Those who are unable to get out may be able to call Faith in Action of Cass County for delivery of groceries, prescription medicines and some pick-up food (services may change as shelter-in-place orders change). Services are offered in Backus, Hackensack, Remer/Longville, Pillager, Pine River and Outing. Call 218-675-5435 for assistance.

Unemployment benefits

Workers who have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for unemployment insurance by visiting uimn.org.

Cass County EDC loans

The Cass County Economic Development Corporation has instituted an emergency lending program to businesses based in Cass County. Loans are interest free with payments deferred up to six months.

Loans are limited to $5,000 to eligible businesses with a $45 application fee.

Funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Applications can be requested by email at cass.edc@co.Cass.mn.us.

Small business loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration is now offering disaster assistance loans at the request of Gov. Tim Walz.

The program may offer low-interest loans up to $2 million to small businesses and private nonprofits. Loans can go toward working capital for payroll, accounts payable and fixed debt payments.

Rates are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. Loans have long-term repayment options up to 30 years.

Visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/EIDLLoans for information.

United Way guidance

While the United Way does not directly provide financial assistance, it is able to direct individuals to find resources like food banks and assistance programs. The fastest way to find these programs is by visiting 211unitedway.org; however, assistance is also available over the phone at 211.

Finally, though text replies may be disabled locally during times of increased response volume, information is also available by texting either MNCOVID or the local ZIP code to 898211.

Cass County BI-CAP

Cass County BI-CAP continues to offer assistance to Cass and Beltrami counties, though it is limited to providing assistance by phone or through applications available outside its offices. Available assistance includes energy assistance and housing assistance.

Bartender's Guild

The U.S. Bartender's Guild National Charity Foundation is offering assistance through its Bartender Emergency Assistance Program to bartenders who are in financial difficulty due to COVID-19 so long as they qualify. Applicants must be either a bartender or the spouse or child of a bartender, experience a catastrophic event or emergency hardship, provide documentation of that hardship and lack necessities of life due to the hardship.

For more information, visit: https://www.usbgfoundation.org/covid-19-response.

Federal resources

Federal resources can be found at usa.gov/coronavirus.

If you know of other available resources not listed here, contact travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.

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