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Organizations Step up for Parents who must Work

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In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, schools and childcare centers have closed to the general public–as have gyms and recreational clubs. This has created a critical need for childcare among parents who must work.

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The broad category of essential workers includes healthcare and emergency/first responder personnel, police and fire workers, teachers, supermarket, restaurant and gas station employees, bankers and many others. And for them, two popular help agencies and an area business are offering vital child daycare services.

The YMCAs of Tampa Bay are offering all-day youth relief care for the children of essential workers at 21 Y locations across Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Citrus and Hernando counties. This program is intended for the children of healthcare and emergency response professionals, as well as medical and health care providers, emergency service workers, utilities, bankers and grocers, and other essential workers. And, thanks to a grant, YMCA can offer this care at greatly reduced rates.

 “If these people are not working then who would be taking care of the sick and how would we get our food?” read a related press release. 

To allow for easier social distancing, the children in attendance stand in separate areas and kid zones. Kids are admitted through curbside drop off, with Y staff coming out to register incoming children.

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“The YMCA has been serving the community for 175 years, and the Hernando community for 30 years,” said Amber Slusser, Executive Director of the Hernando County YMCA. “When we had to close our doors for normal operations, we asked, ‘What can we do to help’?”

The answer was a program that offers arts and crafts, outside play, sports games, and a mix of other activities. In addition, the Hernando County YMCA is a feeding site for free meal services provided by the Hernando County Schools.  

The Hernando County YMCA is located at 1300 Mariner Boulevard, Spring Hill. In West Pasco, Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus counties, qualified employees register here: https://bit.ly/3daGnjB

Tentative dates for the YMCA program are Apr. 6-10, Apr. 13-17, Apr. 20-24, Apr. 27-May 1, May 4-8, 6:30/7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Florida Blue has teamed with YMCA members to help the YMCAs of the Tampa Bay provide this care at a greatly reduced rate. Florida Blue is providing a $100,000 gift to help the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, YMCA of the Suncoast and YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg provide all-day youth relief care for essential workers at 21 Y locations (listed below) across Hernando, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Citrus counties. The gift, according to a related press release, “is part of a $2 million investment Florida Blue is making to address urgent health and safety needs in communities across the state.”

 Now for $50/week, qualified employees can register at the following link:

 In West Pasco, Pinellas, Hernando & Citrus countieshttps://bit.ly/3daGnjB.

“We’re here to serve our neighbors,” said Slusser.

In the Hernando business community, A Brighter Future Pre-School and Daycare at Top Contenders Gymnastics Academy is offering a Community Outreach Program that provides reduced price childcare for the kids of 1st responders, medical staff, grocery employees, and other essential workers.

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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