Pandemic upending plans for military families, nonprofits stepping in to help

Pandemic upending plans for military families, nonprofits stepping in to help
Posted at 9:55 AM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 15:57:00-04

This week, the government put a 60-day freeze on military deployments, upending some family's plans in this uncertain time. The freeze also means some troops overseas can't come home.

Domestic travel restrictions are also causing headaches and keeping families apart.

"We have a family who's stuff already shipped. The car shipped, their home goods shipped, and now, they are stuck here until they don't know when without the things that they need," said Laura White.

White is the Director of Development and Community Engagement for Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), a nonprofit serving young military families in Southern California.

Making matters worse, she says spouses of those serving in the Armed Forces are facing layoffs and cut hours.

"In the United States, when you first enlist you're the first pay grade, it's called an E-1 through an E-6, so the first six pay grades, you slowly kind of move up. E-1 through E-4s are considered at or below HUD poverty levels, so a spouse's income is really important," said White.

This week, STEP held an emergency distribution event, providing families essentials like toilet paper, diapers, and food.

Following CDC guidelines, families picked up the goods from their cars.

"We're an organization that believes if you've chosen to serve, you deserve to be able to stay in your house, get food on the table, and get those basic necessities. And then we're going to work with you on how to maintain that forever," said White.

There's help like this around the country.

In all 50 states, military families can call 211 for access to basic necessities, financial assistance, and mental health resources.

Coronavirus Testing Sites - Kern County

View Testing Locations Map

State-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free, but if have insurance they will bill
  • No screening criteria

Kern County Fairgrounds
1142 South P Street, Building 4, Access Gate 27
Mojave Veterans Hall
15580 O Street, Mojave
Arvin Public Health
204 S Hill Street, Arvin
5th District Drive-Thru at The Prado Senior Center
2101 Ridge Road

County-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free
  • No screening criteria
  • Operating with existing provider

Oildale - Good Samaritan Hospital
901 Olive Drive, Bakersfield
  • For Registration call (661) 215-7725
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 8 pm, Saturday 8 am - 12 pm

Ridgecrest - Ridgecrest Regional Hospital
1081 N. China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest
  • For Registration: Text the word "testing" to 833-774-4968 Or Call 866-774-9984
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 10:30 am

Delano - Delano Regional Medical Center
1401 Garces Hwy, Delano
  • No Drive-Thru option
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Kern River Valley - Kern Valley Hospital (Coming Soon)
6412 Laurel Ave, Mt Mesa
  • No Drive-Thru option

Tehachapi - Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley
1100 Magellan Dr 93561