The Transylvania Times -

By Derek McKissock
News Editor 

Community Comes Together To Tackle COVID-19 Crisis


Last updated 3/19/2020 at 4:59pm

The Transylvania Times is making this story free to readers because of the need for information about the coronavirus (Covid-19). We encourage you to to support our efforts to keep the public informed by subscribing at

On Wednesday, County Manager Jaime Laughter issued a press release about the recent response to COVID-19. The release isn’t just about what the county is doing but as a “united community response.”

“We are collaborating in some great ways,” she said. “We are working to get social workers out in the community with the feeding programs, helping Western Carolina Community Action (WCCA) deliver the meals to the elderly clients who are not able to come to congregate sites, using our transit drivers and DSS social workers. We also have a K-12 day camp open for critical care workers, including health care workers in our county who must be available to respond to COVID-19 and is staffed by our Parks & Recreation and library. We are also working on some DSS pop-ups that we hope to have with drive-through food pick-up with nonprofit partners scheduled soon, so that those who need to see about services from DSS can stop in and fill out applications, knowing many families will be struggling due to lack of work.

“There is a lot of collaborating going on, and it is amazing.”

The following are some of the actions and impacts that have occurred, as well as resources that are available.

•The county gathered community partners on Monday morning, including nonprofits and other agencies, to plan for other unanticipated impacts in the community. An email list to facilitate collaboration on services for the community has been developed. Interested partners not already involved should contact Laughter at [email protected] to be a part of the distribution list to coordinate efforts. Regular updates on the work going on will be posted at

• For county services, the public is encouraged to call the department first to see if any needs can be met over the phone.

•All gathering events at Parks and Recreation and the library have been cancelled. The library will remain closed until further notice. Curbside pick-up will be provided Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information on how to request books and use curbside, go to the library’s Facebook page or go to

•Court functions that have necessary time restrictions or related to domestic violence will continue to be scheduled. However, by order of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, many cases will be postponed. The Transylvania County Clerk of Court Office will be contacting defendants and attorneys regarding schedule changes.

•Transylvania County Department of Social Services (828-884-3174) recommends the public call before they visit. Programs are available, including Energy Assistance (DSS will also have referral services to other agencies if you do not qualify); Food and Nutrition services for those who qualify; and access to social workers should you have concerns about the care of children or elders in the community.

•The county’s Emergency Management and Public Health staff are working to keep regular services going while staying up-to date on the situation – nationally and keeping up with local health care providers. Child development and transit services continue to operate to support critical community services.

•WCCA has suspended Lunch Plus for Seniors at Silvermont and Quebec; however, they will be providing meals to go and will be offering delivery in partnership with Transylvania County DSS and Transylvania County transit for Lunch Plus clients.

•WCCA Tigertown thrift shop is closed at this time.

•Transylvania County DSS is working on a partnership with local nonprofits to host a pop-up food distribution location out in the more rural areas of community.More information to come.

•Transylvania County Transportation is currently operating as normal. Riders may call 884-3203 by 10 a.m. the day before to request transportation.

•The Transylvania Economic Alliance is coordinating with the Brevard/Transylvania Cham- ber of Commerce, Tourism Development Authority, Heart of Brevard, and Small Business Center with Blue Ridge Community College on a coordinated outreach to the business community with information specific to workplace safety standards and recommended actions to help reduce the long-term impact to each businesses workforce. Also being developed is a business survey in an effort to gather information and triage the most pressing issues with employers and their individual team members.

The business survey will be made available on its website, social media and e-newsletter platforms. Staff is also reaching out individually to businesses to assess needs.

Resources Available

•Sharing House is distributing food boxes and can be reached at (828) 884-2866. They are asking those in need of services to call.

They are not open to the public except for pre-arranged appointment or pick up.

•Nine community centers in the county have free Wi-Fi access paid for by the county to support students.

•Transylvania County Schools is working to leverage summer feeding programs to distribute meals for children. They will also be partnering with the Sheriff’s Office to distribute Backpack Buddies.

•The Chamber of Commerce is collecting information on what businesses are doing to support community. They will also be working to identify the economic concerns for those in small businesses that may need aid as this crisis continues.

•The Children’s Center (885-8276) and Women’s Center (885-7885) are there to support families.

•Comporium will provide free 60-day Internet access to new customers who have children in the home. More information on how to qualify can be found at

•The Haven continues to serve the homeless community, but the office is closed to the public. For crisis assistance, call 877-2040.

•Vaya is reminding the public of the availability of the 24/7 toll free behavioral health crisis line (1-800- 849-6127) and to information on their website regarding COVID-19 at http://www.vaya

•Pardee has opened a free testing site to the public at the Blue Ridge Community College Flat Rock Campus open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You must meet criteria to be tested. Call their hotline at (828) 694-8048 before you go.

•AdventHealth is providing new resources for patients experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms. It has opened a testing site for patients to drive-up for COVID-19 testing. This is a resource for patients who have a referral for a test from an AdventHealth physician or who have been referred after calling the AdventHealth Triage Nurse Hotline at (828) 681-2300. The testing site will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 50 Hospital Dr., Hendersonville.

•GetSet Transylvania will be posting activities to do as a family while you are spending more time at home. Like the GetSet Transylvania Facebook page for more. March’s Learning Through Play Toolkit is delayed, but parents can check out on the blog to see the resource guide for this month with lots of ideas to use for your children to learn through play.

•Backpack Buddy programming will continue with SROs making deliveries.

•God’s Way Food Pantry in Balsam Grove will operate this Saturday, March 21, 10 until noon, with a drive up system for clients. If you are ill, call 884-7793 on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. to arrange or someone to pick up for you.

•Staying home can be isolating. The North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry is available for those who need to talk.

Call (866) 758-4673.


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