Serving Oxford Hotline created to help those in need amid COVID-19 outbreak

Published 11:35 am Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Although Lafayette County does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, residents are still wanting to take every precaution and the City of Oxford wants to accommodate.

The Serving Oxford Hotline was created as a way to help those in Oxford’s community who are 60-years-old and up who may be symptom-free, but still have other health issues that make them vulnerable and want to stay home.

The Center for Disease Control considers this group most at-risk for contracting the virus, and they’re the ones most encouraged to practice social distancing, but they also still need their daily essentials. This is where the hotline comes in as a vital resource.

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Mayor Robyn Tannehill met with pastors of five Oxford churches on Sunday to discuss the best way to serve those who need help the most during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hotline is initially intended for Oxford’s elderly community, but is available to anyone who might not be able to leave their home due to any self-quarantine measures they are taking, and even for students who may have to be isolated after returning from spring break travels.

“It’s hard for us to predict what all the needs are going to be, so we’re trying hard not to limit that,” Tannehill said. “There are going to be supplies that different people need from the pet store or what have you. So, we’re trying not to limit it.”

The number for the hotline is 662-238-2793, which became active on Monday, and a City of Oxford employee will answer a designated phone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. The employee will take down the person’s name, address, phone number and their need, and then send that information to a volunteer group at one of the participating churches. The volunteer will then fulfill the request the following day.

Much like the food delivery services are doing, the deliveries will be brought to the person’s front door to help limit contact and follow protocol of social distancing.

Tannehill also stated the City is working with The Pantry to ensure it stays open and is able to provide food to those who rely on it. With several city facilities and departments closed for most of March, City employees are helping out at The Pantry.

“We’ll re-purpose employees in different spots as we need to to keep the services that our community counts on in place,” Tannehill said.