As we enter a new normal, we are discovering ways to support our neighbors during these trying times. We feel it’s essential to stay connected and to share information about ways our community can give and receive support. We have created this community resource list and will continue to update it as we learn new information. If you know of other resources or of ways to give back locally, please leave a comment below, and we’ll include it on this list.  We encourage you to share this list on your websites and personal pages. You can also check out our COVID-19 Resources for Artists list here, where we talk about opportunities for artists during this time. If you have any additional community-related questions, contact our Outreach Coordinator Barbie White here.

We are so looking forward to seeing everyone back at the Folk School when it’s appropriate and safe to do so—hopefully soon!

Community Resource List


Small Business Assistance

  • Tri-County Community College’s Small Business Center is offering counseling services for any business impacted by COVID-19. If you’re interested in receiving counseling from an advanced business specialist, click here for more information. In addition, the Small Business Center is partnering with the Town of Murphy to present the Murphy Assistance Program, which provides immediate legal and accounting assistance to Murphy businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. To view upcoming webinars the Small Business Center is hosting, visit their events calendar. For additional information on the Small Business Center’s resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs, visit Startup Tri-County’s website.
  • The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce has information regarding COVID-19 relief for small businesses and qualified organizations, as well as openings for member support appointments. For more information, email Sherry Raines or visit the Cherokee County Chamber website. 
  • Mountain Bizworks is partnering with Dogwood Health Trust to provide increased access to another round of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program for nonprofits, small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors in the region. The focus will be on rural, minority, and women-led organizations. For more information, visit their website here. Mountain Bizworks has also developed a list of COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Financing Options. To view this list, click here.
  • The Community Foundation through the Emergency and Disaster Response Fund has awarded over $1 million in grants toward relief efforts. To learn more and apply for a future grant, visit this link.
  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Resources is offering flexible funding for Community Action Agencies. This funding will be used to help low-income individuals and families meet a variety of needs caused by the economic disruption of the pandemic. Find and contact your local CAA to find more information on funding here.
  • The Federal Reserve has established the Main Street Lending Program to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations that were in sound financial condition prior to COVID-19. For more information regarding eligibility, visit this link.
  • The North Carolina Healing Communities fund provides critical resources for nonprofit organizations in North Carolina that have been impacted severely by COVID‐19 through revenue loss and increased demand. Currently, NCCF is in the process of raising funds from philanthropic partners and finalizing the process for grant distribution. To stay updated on this fund, visit this link.
  • Pharus Group is offering help to businesses on strategic planning, financial planning, and other areas that may have been impacted by the pandemic. To learn more, visit their website here.
  • The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits has provided a list of COVID-19 updates and resources to help safeguard non-profit employees, operations, and N.C. communities. Visit their website to view resources available.
  • The Southwestern Commission Council of Governments is offering low-interest loans, with a loan maximum of $500,000. The funds must stimulate economic activity. Qualified businesses from Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain, Cherokee, Clay, and Graham counties may apply. For more information, call 828-586-1962.
  • The Evergreen Foundation provides grants to support providers of behavioral health, substance abuse, and developmental disability services. To learn more about how to apply for a grant with this foundation, visit their website.
  • The WNC Bridge Foundation is now accepting Letters of Interest for their grants in the areas of elder care, wellness support, and youth development. Grant awards begin at a minimum of $10,000 with a maximum award amount of $100,000. LOI’s must be submitted by Tuesday, February 9. For more information, visit their website here.

Employment Assistance

  • To set up an account to file for unemployment, visit this link.
  • North Carolina’s Department of Commerce is offering assistance and resources for those who have questions about filing for unemployment benefits. Visit this link for more information.
  • Georgia’s Department of Labor has resources available on how to claim weekly unemployment benefits, find a job, check your claim, and more. Click this link for more information.
  • Those impacted by furlough can visit NC Works to find job postings, create their resumé, and locate education opportunities near them. To learn more about professional development opportunities, visit NC Works website to learn more. NCWorks is also offering a Train Up grant of up to $10,000. These funds are for expansion, new technology, retooling, new services, and more. For more information on the Train Up grant, contact Linda Lamp.
  • You can receive local employment help by contacting Paul Worley here.
  • Mountain Credit Union has Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors on staff to provide financial wellness checkups if your employee’s health or benefits have been delayed due to COVID-19. These checkups explain how to build a wellness fund, start a budget and build strategies for how to eliminate debt. To schedule an appointment, click here.
  • The Cherokee County Department of Social Services is offering an Employment & Training Program, where low-income residents can go back to school and become self-sufficient. For more information on this program, contact Hayle Miguel at 828-837-7455 ext. 248.


  • Texana Community Center will be offering free Wi-Fi for Cherokee county students from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with lunch and snacks provided in addition to tutoring services. In addition, all library locations within Nantahala Regional Library will have free Wi-Fi in their parking lots, and free WiFi is available in Downtown Murphy. Students can access downtown WiFi between the Murphy Chophouse and Tennessee Street. To contact Texana Community Center regarding tutoring, call Eurial Turner at 678-438-9922. To view other community Wi-Fi locations, click here.
  • Sanctuary for Learning and Valleytown Vision will be offering tutoring services for those in need. For more information, contact the Sanctuary for Learning through Murphy High School at 828-837-2426 to get a permission form. For Valleytown Vision, contact Emily Malin at 557-4360 or call Valleytown Baptist Church at 321-3653 to sign up.
  • Anyone can access NCDHHS recordings of their COVID-19 webinars and calls held for communities and stakeholders. Webinars and calls can be found here.
  • Bridge Academy at Tri-County Community College is offering college and career readiness assistance for those who may have lost their job due to COVID-19. This assistance includes obtaining a GED, brushing up on job skills, and resume building. For more information, call 828-835-4322 or email the Bridge Academy here. 
  • Cherokee County Schools can be reached at 828-837-2722, and Clay County Schools at 828-389-8513.
  • The American Red Cross has created a list of kid-friendly activities to do with your child at home. Visit their website for more information.
  • Nantahala Regional Libraries are open for in-person appointments. Call 828-541-3934 for more information on the updated library and curbside pickup hours. Visit their Facebook page to find contact information for each location in addition to online resources for audiobooks, journals, magazines, courses, videos, and more.
  • The Harrah’s Cherokee Tribal Scholarship Fund is offering emergency COVID-19 funding to qualified educational institutions in counties bordering the Qualla Boundary (Jackson, Swain, Haywood, Macon, Graham, Cherokee, and Clay). These funds are applicable to use for personal protective equipment, screening supplies, sanitization chemicals, food transportation, and other qualified needs. For more information and an application, please call 828-554-5032 or contact Yona Wade.


  • Matt’s Ministry Food Bank will have food distribution every Saturday in Hayesville. For more information, call 828-361-9083.
  • The NC Cooperative Extensions of Clay and Cherokee counties have compiled a list of local food options. For more information, click the link.
  • Cherokee County Food Bank will have food distribution every Tuesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon. For more information, call 828-321-5512.
  • Clay County Food Bank will be offering food distribution. Call 828-389-1657 for more information.
  • For a full list of local food assistance, visit this post by WKRK.
  • MANNA HelpLine 1-800-820-1109 in operation Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Callers can get help signing up for food stamps over the phone, including applications with stickers where they need to sign and a postage-paid envelope included for their local DSS. To view upcoming local markets, visit this link.
  • A new app from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture is connecting farmers to consumers. The Visit NC Farms app showcases farms and fisheries, pick your own produce/fruit, farmer’s markets, local food and drink, shop local, farm stays and lodging, tours and trails, and special events. This app is helping to promote agritourism in local counties and other parts of the state. If you believe your business may fall into these categories, visit this link. To learn more about the app, click here.
  • Governor Roy Cooper announced that parents who need food assistance for children 18 and younger can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. Parents need to enter their address + receive the location + serving times for nearby pick-up free meal sites. The service is also available in Spanish if you text “COMIDA” to 877-877.
  • The Center for Environmental Farming Systems has a variety of resources available for those impacted by COVID-19. Click here for information on events and training, announcements, and educational material. You can also view their EmPOWERing Mountain Food Systems page to learn more about future paid apprenticeship programs, grant and loan opportunities, and scholarships here.
  • The NCDHHS Division of Public Health, Nutrition Services Branch announced its annual participation in the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program to ensure children and adults continue to have access to good nutrition. The CACFP provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children and adults who attend qualifying non-residential care facilities. Four Square Community Action Inc. will be taking part in this program locally. For more information, email Linda Truett. To learn more about this program, visit this link.
  • The USDA has a list of resources available for families who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources include information on requesting SNAP or WIC assistance, using these benefits, how to access food while schools are closed, and more. To find these resources, visit their website.
  • To apply for free or reduced lunches in 2021 for your children, visit the online application.
  • REACH of Cherokee County has created a “Blessing Box” filled with food at their thrift store location. The box will be restocked weekly. Visit the box at 1980 U.S.-64 West in Murphy.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended essential flexibilities for the WIC program to ensure participants continue to receive the food and health support they need during COVID-19. For questions or those seeking WIC services for the first time, call a local WIC office for specific guidelines on how services are being provided.
  • As part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, the USDA is purchasing and distributing agricultural products to those in need. To do so, they are partnering with national, regional, and local distributors who have been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels, and other foodservice businesses. This program will supply food boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, and meat products to food banks, community, and faith-based organizations, or non-profits in need. To learn more, visit the Farmers to Families Food Boxes website.
  • There will be a free food box distribution Wednesday, January 27 at Qualla Boundary Fairgrounds from 10:00 am until gone. Masks are required and there is only 1 box given per vehicle. Other locations for pickup include Snowbird Church of the Lamb from 12:30 am until gone and Cherokee County John Welch Senior Center from 10:30 am until gone. For more information, contact Kristina Queen at 828-788-5976 for Qualla Boundary locations and Zena Rattler at 828-735-4594 for the Cherokee County location.

Other Resources

  • For additional resources on community, individual, or business resources, visit the USDA Federal Resource Guide for Rural Communities here.
  • Pisgah Legal Services has a listing of COVID-19 resources. To learn more, click here.
  • You can now view COVID-19 information based on zip code. To learn more, visit this link.
  • The COVID Mobilize app is providing businesses the ability to give support to local non-profits, health professionals, and governments. To learn more, click here.
  • North Carolina has created the nation’s first statewide technology platform, NCCARE360 to coordinate whole-person care. This care will unite traditional healthcare settings and organizations with other non-medical drivers of health, such as food, housing, transportation, employment, and interpersonal safety. Those in North Carolina can search for more than 10,000 local services and access resources. For more information, call 2-1-1 or visit this link.
  • The Cherokee County Health Department can be reached at 828-837-7486, Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital at 828-837-8161, and N.C. Department of Health & Human Services at 866-462-3821.
  • Veterans can contact Cherokee County Veterans services at 828-835-8663.
  • Cherokee County Senior Services can be reached at 828-837-2467.
  • Funding is now available to help North Carolina residents in crisis pay cooling or heating bills, or secure cooling or heating resources. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Resources provides this assistance to qualified, low-income households who are experiencing a cooling related crisis, or a heat-related crisis in the winter. To find full eligibility details, visit the NCDHHS website here.
  • The NCDHHS has launched a ‘SlowCOVIDNC’ notification app that will alert participants when they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This app is completely anonymous and does not collect, store, or share personal information or location. To learn more and download the app, visit the NCDHHS FAQ page.
  • Hinton Rural Life Center is offering firewood pickup starting October 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. For those looking to grab smaller quantities of wood or who will not be able to pick up on Wednesdays, pickup is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 389-8336.
  • The Society of St. Vincent de Paul now has a direct line for those who are in need of assistance. This assistance includes person-to-person services and attempts to feed, cleanse, house, and heal those in need. For assistance, please call 828-541-3820.
  • The Cherokee County Ministerial Association has shared The Community Resource Assistance Guide. This list includes resources for Children Services, Senior Services, Health-Related Services, and many others. Visit the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce’s website for more information.
  • For those looking for information on Medicaid benefits and eligibility requirements for North Carolina, visit the NCDHHS’s website. For those looking for information on Medicare benefits and eligibility requirements, visit the NCDOI’s website.
  • Vaya Health is now managing the N.C. Emergency Solutions Grant aiming to serve 100 households in Clay, Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Madison, and Swain counties through September 2022. This program is open to all qualifying households in the right counties, with a focus on rapid rehousing for people who are homeless and living in unsafe conditions with pre-existing health conditions. The program also provides housing and rental assistance, and housing case management for those facing immediate eviction. For details about the grant, contact Housing Equity Resources & Education in Sylva at 828-477-4946 or email them for more information.
  • A hotline is available to help families find child care programs that are open and meeting NCDHHS health and safety guidelines. For help, call 888-600-1685 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information on child care resources, visit the NCDHHS “Child Care Information for Families” page.
  • Western Carolina University is offering a housing program called Back @ Home to help those at risk of or those experiencing homelessness. This program serves Clay, Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Madison, the Qualla Boundary, and Swain counties. Back @ Home works to help households avoid entering homelessness by helping with rental arrears, and provides moving and ongoing financial assistance to homeless households. Those in need should call 211, a statewide resource and referral method for this program. For more information on eligibility requirements, contact 828-477-4946 or view Back @ Home’s FAQ sheet.
  • Governor Roy Cooper has announced free rides are available for those who need transportation to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If you need assistance, please reach out to your local transit agency.

Looking for a way to give back?

  • Give back to a local food bank. View our Food section above to find contact information for local food banks.
  • Eating and shopping locally is a great way to give back. View your favorite local restaurant’s website or Facebook page to find information on their modified hours.
  • Continue watching church services online or any online offerings through your favorite local organizations to play an active part from home.
  • REACH of Cherokee County’s thrift store will also be accepting your donated items and nonperishable food items. For more information on REACH, visit their website.
  • Consider donating to a cause close to your heart. View your local non-profit’s website or Facebook page to find more information on how you can support them during this time.
  • MANNA is looking for volunteers. Click here to learn more.
  • Veterans Thrift Store in Young Harris, G.A. is looking for volunteers and accepting gently used items. These items include furniture, appliances, toys, clothes, and more. For more information on how you can help, call 828-516-1554.
  • The Hulburt-Johnson Friendship House is seeking donations to provide the local community shelter. Checks payable can be sent to HJFH at P.O. Box 422, Murphy, N.C., 28906. For more information on how you can help, call 828-837-2654.
Barbie White
About Barbie White

Barbie is the Outreach Coordinator for the John C. Campbell Folk School. She joined the Folk School staff in 2020 and enjoys connecting with the local community, engaging prospective students, and building relationships with makers. In her spare time, you can find her hiking, painting, or cooking a new recipe.