Things have been a little challenging here in Nashville these last few weeks. It may seem that we’ve hardly had time to rest and recover from the tornados and hail that swept through on the 3rd, and now Tennessee – indeed, the entire world – is grappling with COVID-19.

We know things are hard. They’re hard for families, for the medically vulnerable, for small businesses, and for workers. But we also know that even if we have to be socially distant to protect ourselves and the people we love, we all do better when we all do better.

Nobody knows that better than our teachers, who have risen to the challenge of creating and working in an online platform, and our parents, who may be trying to work from home while their kids are trying to keep up with their studies. That is why we have put together this list of sites and programs that may come in handy when you just need a little break, or when you feel like you could use some extra support. We hope it helps you and your children in the days to come.

Learning outside the classroom

There are ways to supplement your child’s curriculum that can be educational AND inspiring. You can instill a love of art by taking virtual tours of: also has thousands of free online courses, books, movies and lectures – probably enough to keep you busy for years!

Studying history? You can also check out:

The Tennessee State Museum also has videos of their programs streaming from their website.

Museums and galleries are wonderful, of course, but there is more to learning than art and history. You and your child can explore the surface of Mars, create science experiments with household goods, or take a virtual tour of the tundra or learn about “the science behind your food” through one of Discovery Education’s multiple virtual field trips. If you want to study music, you can watch streams of previously-recorded live performances from the Metropolitan Opera, too.

Once you’ve helped inspire your children to new heights, you can encourage them to read more about what they’ve learned (and take some time for yourself, too) by taking out e-books from the Nashville Public Library.

Addressing food insecurity and other immediate concerns

About 1 in 8 people in Middle Tennessee struggle with food insecurity – and those figures may be higher after the natural disasters we’ve experienced. Second Harvest Food Bank has coordinated with Metro Nashville Public Schools to provide free breakfast and lunch for students throughout Davidson County, starting March 23rd. These are the locations, which are open between 8:00 and 9:00 am for breakfast, and from 12:00 to 1:30 om for lunch:

  • Apollo Middle School: 631 Richards Rd, Antioch, TN 37013
  • Buena Vista Elementary School: 1531 9th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208
  • Cole Elementary School: 5060 Colemont Dr, Antioch, TN 37013
  • DuPont Elementary School: 1311 9th St, Old Hickory, TN 37138
  • Glencliff High School: 160 Antioch Pike, Nashville, TN 37211
  • H.G. Hill Middle School: 150 Davidson Rd, Nashville, TN 37205
  • I.T. Creswell Middle School: 3500 John Mallette Dr, Nashville, TN 37218
  • Lakeview Elementary School: 455 Rural Hill Rd, Nashville, TN 37217
  • Madison Middle School: 300 W Old Hickory Blvd, Madison, TN 37115
  • McKissack Middle School: 915 38th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37209
  • Napier Elementary School: 67 Fairfield Ave, Nashville, TN 37210
  • Rose Park Middle School: 1025 9th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203
  • Shwab Elementary School: 1500 Dickerson Pike, Nashville, TN 37207
  • Stratford STEM Magnet High School: 1800 Stratford Ave, Nashville, TN 37216
  • Two Rivers Middle School: 2991 McGavock Pk, Nashville, TN 37214

For those in immediate need, you can find a full list of food pantries in Nashville here.

When you’re worried about the bills

Per diem workers, tipped workers, and other non-salaried employees may be facing some difficult times. There are some companies, though, which are stepping up to help. The New York Times reports that Goldman Sachs (credit cards and loans through its bank Marcus), American Express (credit cards), and Capital One (cards and auto loans) are all allowing customers to skip a payment in March, interest free. So is Citibank, which now offers a hardship assistance program. Automakers such as Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, GM, and Toyota are also offering programs to defer payment for customers. Even the IRS has extended its deadline to pay your taxes to July 15th (though you still have to file by April 15th).

If you live in Davidson, Wilson, or Putnam County, however, you may be able to extend both filing and paying. Contact your accountant to learn if you are eligible.

Don’t forget to take time to address your mental health

With so much happening in the world, it can be hard to take time for yourself. Over the years, we’ve spoken with so many people who feel like self-care is selfish – but it’s not. Mental health is health, and dealing with stress and grief is important. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention offers a list of coping mechanisms that could help you deal with the stress of COVID-19. It also provides a free coloring book for children who are still reeling from the natural disasters.

There are other things you can try, too. For example, you don’t have to stay inside on a nice day; you can still spend time in your yard, or take the dog for a walk. Yes, you should stay a safe distance from people, but you can video conference with your loved ones, too. And remember that it’s okay to laugh. This app lets you add your own song lyrics to a poster that encourages good handwashing techniques, and this website allows you to upload photos to see if they’re pictures of cats. (Yes – that’s all it does. But you might be surprised how much fun it is to play this game with your little ones.) And if you just need to “veg out” for a while, you can watch some soothing livestreams of fish and other sea life from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Things may be hard now, but we’re #NashvilleStrong. We will get through this together.