Bright News


Participants and their families can find a variety of resources here to help with any challenges they are facing due to COVID-19 and social distancing protocols that are in place. This will be a growing, changing list as things develop, so please make sure to check back often for updates.

Click on any of the below categories to see the resources listed, or simply scroll down the page:

Educational Support

Teaching Tools and Lessons for Parents and Students

To access free online resources to help with students and parents/guardians with distance learning, try this website:

This website also provides free online learning resources, broken out by elementary, middle school, and high school learning:

Fun Educational DIY Activities at Home:

Sierra Nevada Journeys has put together some great learning activities that children and families can do from home:

For some fun and easy science projects children can do at home, click here.

Use Instagram for learning and inspiration.  This website compiles great science, history, and curiosity learning gems from Instagram:

Fun Free or Low-Cost Online Activities

Cooking and Baking

Bread Making videos and easy recipes! Gluten free, sourdough, fancy loafs, & basic loafs:

Easy, healthy recipes for free:

Virtual cooking classes for free:

Digital Media

Audible is offering free audiobooks as long as schools are closed.  To access their free audiobooks and see their selection, click here.

Nevada County Library Digital Library: Free access to Driver’s Ed, hobbies and crafts, researching your ancestry, and digital books through our library system, click here.  If you do not have a library card to access all they have to offer for free, click here to apply.

If you’re interested in learning how to make great videos using your cell phone, our local Nevada County Media Center is offering a 2-hour workshop with several days/times to choose from, for $10.  Click here for details and to register.

Virtual Tours, Concerts, Art, and Other Fun Online Activities

For access to a variety of fun online activities, ChatterPack has a list of free activities and virtual tours so you can explore the world from your home. This includes virtual tours of museums from around the world and Zoo Cams of Pandas, Tigers, and Koalas! Plus, online language learning, online courses, games, music, concerts (musical and theater), eBooks, boardgames, podcasts, and mental health resources.

Free streaming of Great Performances (Shakespeare, Broadway, etc.) on PBS.

For local events that are streamed, go to the Facebook Events page and select the city you are in.

For links to fun “Art at Home” activities, from art contests, to art games, to art tutorials and workshops online, click here.

Financial Support

Unemployment Insurance

For new guidelines for filing a disability insurance claim during the Coronavirus outbreak and what qualifies for unemployment benefits, visit

Click this link to file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. The link provides the steps and also has video tutorials in English and Spanish.  Please note that they are waiving the week-long waiting period at this time so that people can start receiving benefits more rapidly.

Be prepared to provide the following information to file a UI claim:

  • First and last name.
  • Social Security number.
  • California Driver License number.
  • Most current employer’s business name, phone number, and mailing address (as stated on your W-2 or paystub).
  • Last date you worked your regular duties and hours or date you began working at less than full duty or modified duty.
  • Register and create an unemployment portal with this link:
  • Click Login and Register
  • Click new registration (unless you have previously registered with EDD)
  • Fill out information requested, click next, login, and click start a new claim
  • When it asks about “last employer” it is talking about your present job.
  • If you have questions for how to fill it out, we can help via phone or Zoom.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is for anyone who doesn’t qualify for Unemployment Insurance. It is for small business owners, contract employees (1099 employee), etc. Click here for the Fact Sheet for more information or click here to apply.

Food Support

Interfaith Food Ministry (IFM)

440 Henderson Street, Grass Valley
(530) 273-8132

Food distribution hours: M-W-F from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, as well as the second Saturday of each month from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm for working families who cannot come during their normal distribution days on M, W, F.

How it works: Each individual or family may receive community donated food one time every two weeks.  If you’re not already a IFM client, you will need to do the following:

  1. Show them a Social Security card for each person in your immediate household that you wish to receive food.
  2. Residency can be established by producing a current rental agreement, mortgage statement, business statement (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.) or current utility bill (AT&T, NID, PG&E, Waste Management, propane, etc.) that is addressed to the client or any of their dependents at their physical address.
  3. Due to current health concerns, IFM will be distributing food through a curbside / drive-through process. This means that clients will not be getting out of their cars, the distribution team will build pre-packaged bags for easy distribution, and they’ll limit the number of Ask For items as low as possible.

Nevada County Food Bank

Drive-Through Food Distributions every Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 12889 Osborn Hill Rd, Grass Valley, CA 95945

They did a Drive-Through Distribution on the San Juan Ridge on 4/16/20 and may continue to do more in the future.  Check their Facebook Page for the schedule of all their distributions.
(530) 272-3796

Staple Food Items Available Through The Friendship Club

For Friendship Club and SAFE Program Participants and their families only: If you need food relief during this challenging time and have trouble accessing food distributions at Interfaith Food Ministries or the Food Bank, or simply need to supplement what you do get from these distributions, we have these staple items available for participants and families:

  • rice
  • spaghetti
  • black beans
  • white beans
  • corn
  • salsa
  • pasta sauce
  • canned tomatoes
  • Mac and cheese
  • pork sausage
  • ground beef
  • cheese

Please contact Wendy Van Wagner, our Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator, to let us know what you need and arrange for pick up at The Friendship Club: or (530) 277-5126 (cell).

Apply for CalFresh (Food Stamps)

You can apply for CalFresh online at

Select the link “Start an Application” at the top, then create a login so you can come back to your application if you don’t do it all at once, and also to check your application status, or your balance on the EBT card once you have CalFresh.

You can also apply in person.  For more info on how to apply, click on this link:


Regional Housing Authority Voucher Program

The wait lists for the following Project-Based Voucher Properties in Nevada County will open on Wednesday, July 1st, 2020 at 8:00 am:

  • Truckee Artist Lofts- Located in Truckee, CA with 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units.
  • Grass Valley Terrace- Located in Grass Valley, CA with 1, 2, and 3- bedroom units.
  • Lone Oak Senior Apartments- Located in Penn Valley, CA for seniors age 62+, with both 1, and 2-bedroom units.

Applicants need to have the name, date of birth, and social security number of all household members. Proof of any chosen preferences will need to be provided at the time of application or preferences will not be awarded. Applications can be updated at any time online at or by completing an Application Change form.

Applications will be available at 1455 Butte House Road, Yuba City, CA  95993 or you can apply online by clicking here. You will have to wait until the wait list is open to apply.

Medical Support

COVID-19 Testing in Nevada County

Two OptumServe testing sites are available in Grass Valley and the Town of Truckee. Symptomatic or asymptomatic can be tested. Insured, underinsured, and uninsured are welcome.

You must pre-register and schedule an appointment at or call 888-634-1123. Please have your appointment authorization number when you arrive at the testing site. Appointments are available Monday-Friday, 7:00am to 7:00pm in the Town of Truckee; Tuesday – Saturday 7am-7pm in Grass Valley.

Tests can also still be conducted by doctors offices too, but you do NOT need your physicians approval to be tested at the OptumServe site. Call your primary care physician before physically going to the doctor.

  • If you do not have a primary care physician, please call our Coronavirus Call Center through Connecting Point by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-833-DIAL211 to talk with a call center representative. The call center representatives at 211 can help with all non-emergency and non-medical inquiries.

OptumServe Testing Site Locations

Western Nevada County:

Grass Valley Veterans Hall: 255 S Auburn St, Grass Valley, CA 95945

Eastern Nevada County

Town of Truckee across the street from the Tahoe Forest Health System at

10990 Donner Pass Rd. Truckee, CA 96161


If an individual has medical insurance, OptumServe will bill the patient’s medical insurance company. Uninsured individuals may also use the community test site, and their tests will be paid for by the state.

Virtual Medicine to Check Symptoms

To help communities prepare for and respond to the spread of COVID-19, Dignity Health is offering free virtual care visits from the convenience and safety of home for anyone exhibiting mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms such as low-grade fever, cough, or respiratory problems.

Download the Virtual Care Anywhere app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or go to Enter code COVID19 when requesting care.

Nevada County Updates about the Coronavirus

How to talk to kids about coronavirus

Mental Health Support

For Friendship Club participants only: If your child is struggling and needs help connecting with a local therapist, contact Associate Director, Dena Malakian, and she will do her best to arrange for your child to do TeleMedicine (therapy by phone/internet) during this time of social distancing.  We have a few therapists ready to set up weekly appointments, so contact Dena at or (530) 277-7546 (cell) to get started.

Help Reducing Anxiety and Stress

If you’re looking for ways to reduce anxiety during these uncertain times, we recommend watching this Public Service Vlog by California therapists and following their tips below:

Tip 1: Practice Acceptance

A global pandemic is not a usual occurrence. It makes sense that you are feeling uneasy. Allow for your feelings and allow for the reality of the situation. Also allow for the fact that most of us are not in immediate danger, and that we’re working together to find solutions.

Tip 2: Make a Plan

Our brains get very overwhelmed in situations that are out of our control and have uncertain outcomes. Comfort yourself by controlling what you can. Be sure to wash your hands. Do what you need to feel safe and secure. Check out the Red Cross Safety and Readiness Guide here, and share your readiness plan with your family:

Tip 3: Stay in the Present Moment

When we bring our mind into the present, and stop ruminating about the future or the past (what has gone wrong and what could go wrong) we realize that we’re ok. Make sure your mind is where your body is. Use a mantra if that’s helpful – “This too shall pass.”

Tip 4: Don’t Overexpose Yourself to the News

Repeatedly viewing or listening to the same scary story can really push your nervous system into full panic mode. Schedule just a few times a day to turn on the news or look at the internet, for about 20 minutes at a time. Set a timer to keep yourself from fixating on the scary stuff.

Tip 5: Pay Attention to your Body

Our brains and our bodies are intricately connected. We feel better emotionally when we feel physically rested. Make sure you are eating healthy, getting a little exercise, and practicing good sleep hygiene.

Tip 6: Practice Deep, Slow Breathing

When you practice deep, slow breathing, you’ll feel less anxious, because your lungs will send a message through your Vagus nerve to your brain that all is well. Practice breathing ‘In’ for a count of six, and breathing ‘Out’ for a count of six, for one full minute or more.

Tip 7: Stay Connected

We are biologically wired to connect with one another, and there is real healing power in connecting with other people who are struggling in similar ways. Even though you may not want to spend time with big groups or see people in person, make sure you’re not isolating more than necessary.

Tip 8: Keep a Balanced Perspective

Even in the most challenging times, we can find a few aspects of our lives that are going well. It is important to focus on the good in times of struggle. If you realize you haven’t laughed or smiled in a while, watch a funny TV show or call a friend who makes you laugh, and remember that the world isn’t all bad. Sometimes, even in the midst of crisis, we can find silver linings.





Other Mental Health Resources

If you’ve experienced PTSD or childhood trauma, this is a good article to how to cope with the triggers of this pandemic:

Apple News has a couple of articles worth reading to get some tips on how to get through this tough time:

Utilities Support

Free or Low-Cost Internet Services

Comcast is enhancing their Internet Essential program for low-income households during this crisis and to make it easier to access the internet as people shelter-in-place.  They are offering free high speed internet to new low-income customers for 60 days if you apply by June 30th.  Click here to apply.  If you are already a Comcast customer, but are not enrolled in the Internet Essentials Program, you can receive low-cost internet $9.95/month if you meet their low-income requirements.  Go to their Internet Essentials page to find out more.

AT&T is also offering 2 free months of internet service to new customers who meet their low income eligibility requirements and sign up by May 23rd.  After that, it’s only $5 or $10 per month, depending on the internet speed you sign up for. For low-income families with existing AT&T service, you should qualify for their Access program with low monthly rates.  To learn more about these options, click here.

Verizon will add 15 GB of data to their customer’s plans through May 31st for free to allow for greater use of hotspots.  Click here for more details.

Suddenlink is offering free Altice Advantage broadband until the end of the 2019/2020 school year to any new household with students in K-12 and/or college who do not currently have internet access.  Click here for more details, or click here to sign up if you are a new customer.  You can also call 1 (888) 633-0030 to sign up.