North Memphis officials seek state funding to help with COVID-19

By Omer Yusuf  |  Daily Memphian

Charity by Government

North Memphis elected officials requested more state funding Friday, March 13, for programs that benefit the most vulnerable members of the community potentially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – including children, working poor and seniors.

Democratic State Rep. Antonio Parkinson is requesting funding for unemployment and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Parkinson, whose district includes Raleigh, also wants Memphis, Light, Gas and Water Division to issue a moratorium on cutting off power for those who are unable to pay their utility bills.

MLGW announced later Friday afternoon it is suspending the cutoff of utilities for nonpayment of bills until further notice.

Shelby County Schools board member Stephanie Love called on state, local and federal governments to assist the district with additional funds to ensure students are fed while classes are out – if the district does not resume classes by March 30 as planned.

<strong>Memphis City Councilwoman Rhonda Logan (center) talks about the impact of the coronavirus in her community during a March 13, 2020, gathering of North Memphis elected officials and community leaders, including State Rep. Antonio Parkinson (right) and Golden Gate Cathedral Church bishop Ed Stephens (left).&nbsp;</strong>(Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

Memphis City Councilwoman Rhonda Logan (center) talks about the impact of the coronavirus in her community during a March 13, 2020, gathering of North Memphis elected officials and community leaders, including State Rep. Antonio Parkinson (right) and Golden Gate Cathedral Church bishop Ed Stephens (left). (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

Love said the district has enough food to feed students through March 30, but did not immediately know how long the supply would last when asked Friday morning.

“We just need to make sure that before it gets to that point, communication and a plan is already in place,” said Love, whose district includes Frayser. “So we can ensure our parents that we’re looking forward to the next steps.”

The Friday morning press conference was held at Golden Gate Cathedral on James Road as elected officials wanted to inform residents about their plan of action should COVID-19 expand further in Shelby County. As of Thursday afternoon, there were two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Shelby County and 18 statewide.

“This situation is going to disproportionately affect the working poor, those that are poor and seniors living on a fixed income,” Parkinson said. “Because they don’t have the access that those working (have), like insurance, or those who are more affluent have. Nor do they have the facilities in the communities that others may have.”

SCS announced Thursday, March 12, schools would be closed an additional week following spring break, meaning students will not return to class until at least March 30.

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