ROMEOVILLE – As the widespread blood shortage continues in a time of abundant need, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, State Senator Pat McGuire, State Representative John Connor, and State Representative Natalie Manley will host a blood drive Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Romeoville Blood Drive“Blood donations have been dangerously low since the start of the pandemic but are more necessary than ever,” Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said. “Donating blood is always crucial. Now, it’s even more important, as it could save a life of someone battling COVID-19.”

The blood drive, in partnership with Versiti, will be held Sept. 29 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.  at Romeoville Village Hall, located at 1150 W. Romeo Road. All successful blood donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Researchers believe blood containing these antibodies can treat people with severe COVID-19 by boosting their ability to fight the virus.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, our communities have experienced a severe blood supply shortage,” Manley (D-Joliet) said.  “There is a critical need for blood donations from healthy individuals, and this event will be a safe opportunity to help strengthen our blood supply.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 17.2 million units of blood are used in transfusions every year for accident victims, cancer patients, hemophiliacs, surgery patients and more. In March, the CDC issued a statement encouraging healthy people to donate blood at blood centers that adhere to public health and safety guidelines.

“The crucial need for blood in normal times is multiplied by the pandemic. Please give,” McGuire (D-Crest Hill) said.

To schedule a blood donation, people can visit donate.illinois.versiti.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/5588393, or contact Jody Racey at jracey@senatedem.ilga.gov or 217-782-0052.

"Help us to help others – the gift of blood keeps on giving.  Donate at our drive,” Connor (D-Joliet) said.

To ensure the safety of all staff and donors, masks will be required. The group also encourages donors to eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of water before donating.

PLAINFIELD — To help business owners who have faced financial uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) announced more than 25 local business in Will and Kendall Counties will receive assistance through the Business Interruption Grant Program.

“Small businesses owners are dealing with a lot of uncertainties,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Our small businesses play a vital role in our communities, and I am pleased many have been awarded assistance to keep their doors open.”

A total of 26 business in Will and Kendall Counties received a combined $420,000. Each business received between $10,000 and $20,000 to be used to help with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent and utilities. The funds may also be used to cover pandemic-related expenses, such as personal protective equipment, training and new technology.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded a total of $46 million to 2,655 small businesses in the first round of BIG funding. The BIG program offers grants to Illinois restaurants and bars, barbershops and salons, and fitness centers that have suffered pandemic-related losses, with a focus on businesses in the hardest-hit areas of the state.

To ensure ongoing support for Illinois small businesses, the State of Illinois has planned future rounds of funding, including a special program for child care providers. The application deadline for the child care program is Aug. 14.

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the COVID-19 economic downturn. The full list of grant recipients is available here.

PLAINFIELD — To help families searching for relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is highlighting additional unemployment benefits and rental assistance for families who are still struggling.

“The public health crisis has led to severe financial losses for thousands of Illinois families, at no fault of their own,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “These programs will help Illinoisans begin to bounce back from their hardships by ensuring they don’t have to worry about how they will be able to keep a roof over their heads.”

The Illinois Housing Development Authority is offering support through the Emergency Rental Assistance program for renters who are at risk of homelessness when the moratorium on evictions expires later this month.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have fallen behind on their rent since March 1 and must be able to demonstrate income losses as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Applications open Aug. 10 at 9 a.m. and will be available at ERA.IHDA.org. The application period will close no later than Aug. 21. However, it may close earlier if IHDA receives an overwhelming number of applications, so renters are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Successful applicants will be notified within 2-3 weeks of submitting their forms.

While applications are only available online, community partners are available to help people who cannot complete an application over the internet. A list of these partners will soon be available in the Resources section of the program’s website and at (888) 252-1119.

An Emergency Mortgage Assistance program will launch later this month to assist homeowners who are struggling financially.

Additionally, the Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Thursday that 20 weeks of state extended benefits are available to people who exhaust the allotted 26 weeks of regular state unemployment and the additional 13 weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.

People with questions or those who need assistance with unemployment benefits should visit IDES.Illinois.gov.

PLAINFIELD — As more parents continue to head back to work, many of them need safe and reliable child care. State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is encouraging child care providers to apply for Child Care Restoration Grants to help them reopen after months of financial distress.
“As workplaces continue to reopen, many employees are in need of child care and want to make sure they are sending their children to facilities that are clean, safe and adhering to all guidelines,” said Bertino-Tarrant, who voted to create the program. “The grant will allow child care facilities to reopen while ensuring they have the funds to keep children safe.”

The Illinois Department of Human Services is distributing $270 million in available funding to assist child care providers across the state with reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Licensed child care providers that meet the eligibility criteria may apply for Child Care Restoration Grants.

To be eligible for the grant, child care providers must:

  • Have a current license from the Department of Children and Family Services to care for children,
  • Be open and caring for children at the time of application,
  • Be able to demonstrate a “business interruption” from their pre-COVID capacity, and
  • Submit a complete application with all required documents.

Applications are open now until Aug. 14. To learn more and apply, child care providers should visit www.inccrra.org/.

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