Single and can’t mingle? Dating in Birmingham during a pandemic + 3 virtual date ideas

girl and dog via the pizitz
Honestly might just be content with a cute little dog by my side during the quarantine. Photo via The Pizitz Facebook.

Just when we were getting into the swing of a new decade, COVID-19 halted things in the blink of an eye. There’s nothing we can really do about it besides practicing social distancing and slathering on gallons of hand sanitizer. Whether you’re just getting to know someone or social distancing from your long-time partner, there’s still hope. You can still strike up a romance. It just requires a little creativity.

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Support The Pizitz Food Hall and get dinner, drinks + dessert curbside


With temps in the high 70’s this weekend, a big glass of iced tea from Piper & Leaf is not a want… It’s a NEED. Photo via @ThePizitz on Instagram

The Pizitz Food Hall is one of Birmingham’s best when it comes to social spots, local eats and delicious drinks. You might not be able to hang there now, but you can still show them support by ordering curbside pick up. Here are the stalls still operating + how to get all your food hall favorites safely.

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4 ways ¡HICA! supports Birmingham now


¡HICA! serves our community in a variety of ways. Photo courtesy of ¡HICA!

Although we’re in the middle of a pandemic, the team at the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (¡HICA!) in Birmingham is working hard to make sure families have access to the resources they need. We spoke with ¡HICA!’s executive director, Isabel Rubio, to find out more about their work.

1) ¡HICA! is a champion for Latino and immigrant communities in Alabama.

Photo courtesy of ¡HICA!

¡HICA! exists to champion social justice and advocacy for Latino and immigrant families in our state. The group’s founder, Isabel Rubio, saw a need for ¡HICA!’s services 20 years ago when she was a social worker at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Isabel Rubio, executive director of ¡HICA! . Photo via ¡HICA! ‘s website.

“We started because our community was changing. We wanted to make sure Latinos calling Alabama home were able to be fully engaged and contribute to the broader community.”

Isabel Rubio, executive director, ¡HICA!

2) Their services are multi-faceted, from family programs to economic development.

A family who secured housing with help from ¡HICA!. Photo courtesy of ¡HICA!

“We are heavily engaged in helping people achieve their dreams and aspirations,” said Rubio, whether that’s becoming a U.S. citizen, preparing for college or starting a small business. According to Rubio, ¡HICA! has helped more than 225 businesses get off the ground in the last seven years!

¡HICA!’s Strong Families Program also serves families by referring them to various services they may need, from case management to court and family advocacy.

“The program is critical in helping the broader community understand how to respond. We sit at the table of Children’s Policy Council and work with law enforcement to make sure they know how to work with the culturally specific community we serve.”

Isabel Rubio, executive director, ¡HICA!

3) The Strong Families Program includes the Alabama Language Access Project, which is crucial in a time like this.

Photo courtesy of ¡HICA!

We all want to stay informed of the latest in our community. This is especially the case given what’s happening with the COVID-19 outbreak. Now imagine if you couldn’t access critical information because of a language barrier. That’s where ¡HICA! steps in. They work to get constituents the information they need to know.

“We are a connector in the community. We know that being a partner for the cities in our area is really important.”

Isabel Rubio, executive director, ¡HICA!

For ¡HICA! COVID-19 resources, visit this link.

4) ¡HICA! is still helping those that need their services, despite COVID-19.

Photo via ¡HICA! on Facebook

Within the last two weeks, a woman arrived in Alabama concerned for her safety. A victim of human trafficking, she turned to ¡HICA! to help her with her needs. ¡HICA! not only gave the woman a mattress to sleep on, but also secured a doctor’s appointment for her son. A ¡HICA! advocate is still working on her behalf:

“The advocate I have only met through the phone has never wavered. From the beginning she offered me free counseling with a bilingual counselor. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, my advocate has maintained close communication with me regardless of how many texts I send or calls I make.”

¡HICA! constituent

¡HICA! may be working remotely right now, but they are 100% operational. Kerlyn Mendez has been in one-on-one Zoom meetings with a ¡HICA! financial coach to help her with her small party decor business. This service is especially important in a challenging time like this.

Kerlyn Mendez. Photo courtesy of ¡HICA!

“I want to thank ¡HICA! for the support that they offer in the middle of this situation. The options that we have to continue in the growth of our projects. We are together in this, and their information is valuable for us as small business owners.”

Kerlyn Mendez, owner of Happy Angels

How to Contact ¡HICA!

Photo courtesy of ¡HICA!

Although ¡HICA!’s office is closed for in-person assistance until April 6, staff are still available by phone at 205.942.5505 and email.

Have you worked with ¡HICA!? How are other Birmingham nonprofits stepping up amid the COVID-19 outbreak? Let us know @BhamNow!

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Do you have the goods? Bartering is making a comeback in Birmingham

Toys for pets and kids seem to be some of the most in-demand items in Birmingham. Photo via Unsplash

While it used to be the foundation of most economies, bartering has become fairly outdated in recent decades, particularly in the states. With many incomes slowing down, the practice is gaining traction. Check out the details + learn how to barter in Bham.

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How did Birmingham handle the Spanish Flu 100 years ago? Learn more.

Downtown Birmingham in 1920. Photo via Influenza Archive

A little over a century ago, the world was rocked by the Spanish Flu—a deadly influenza pandemic that lasted from January 1918 to December 1920. Similar to COVID-19, the Spanish Flu eventually made its way to Birmingham. But how did The Magic City deal with one of the deadliest epidemics in recorded history? Find out here.

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Meals on Wheels filled the pantries of over 1100 vulnerable seniors in JeffCo


United Way staff and volunteers load boxes with three weeks worth of supplies for Meals on Wheels clients. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the United Way Meals on Wheels program is delivering three-weeks of shelf-stable meals to homebound seniors in Jefferson County.

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Orangetheory home workouts + how Transformation Challenge kept me motivated


Unfortunately, I don’t have a rowing machine at home, but Orangetheory has some tips to get the same type of workout at home. Photo via Hannah Chambley for Bham Now.

NOTICE: Orangetheory is currently closed due to COVID-19. All memberships will be temporarily frozen without a fee during this time.

Around 8 weeks ago I started Orangetheory’s Transformation Challenge. Along the way, I formed a community, learned I can’t do a push-up and felt stronger than ever. Now, I’m taking my workouts with the Orangetheory team online—find out how. 

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20+ local spots in Birmingham to get a fried chicken sandwich curbside

Throwback to when we would grub on Winner Winner during lunch break. Can’t wait to get back to it! Photo via Matthew Niblett for BhamNow.

Social distancing in Birmingham means staying at home, exploring the outdoors and trying to figure out how to get our comfort food fix without dining in a restaurant. We’ve got 20+ local spots serving up mouthwatering fried chicken sandwiches curbside. Check ’em out! *Warning: Drooling may occur.*

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Please help. Physician Moms PPE Drive this weekend, more homemade masks needed

Volunteers at the Physicians Mom group mask and PPE Drive at the Homewood Library, on March 21, 2020. Photo courtesy of Kellie Tapley

Birmingham, while you shelter in place  this weekend, here are three projects you can work on to help combat COVID-19 here in the Magic City and Alabama.

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The Birmingham housing market is still HOT—how hot? We found out.


How hot is hot? We put it to the test. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

If you’re looking to buy or sell real estate, now’s the time. With all the current uncertainty, you need a professional you can trust to help you make the best decision. Enter RealtySouth—they’ve been serving Alabama families for generations. Check out what they have to say about the Birmingham housing market!

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Over 65 marketing execs joined virtual summit on how to communicate during pandemic.

Even though our workspaces may look a little different, communication remains important as ever. Photo via Unsplash

The Birmingham Chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF Birmingham) held its first-ever online panel on Wednesday, March 25. Topic? How businesses can best communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosted via Zoom, the summit featured 4 local communication experts and welcomed over 65 local advertising and marketing executives. Read on to get the pro tips.

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Greg & Lindsey bought their dream home in Birmingham—here’s how


Kristin stands with Greg and Lindsey in front of their new home. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Buying a house is one of the biggest and most important decisions in a young couple’s life. You want to find a place that will fit your needs now and for the foreseeable future. Most importantly, you want to find a home. A few months ago, Lindsey and Greg McKinney stumbled upon what seemed like their dream home. However, a couple of issues appeared to be dealbreakers. Luckily, Lindsey and Greg had their real estate agent there to fight for them.

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