A woman in a Save the Children shirt carries a shopping bag of supplies in each arm.

Save the Children staff around the country have been distributing resources and supplies to communities affected by the coronavirus. Photo Credit: SCUS

Delivering Peace of Mind During a Pandemic

Celebrating the Resiliency and Adaptability of Early Childhood Coordinators in Washington State

Save the Children staff in Washington state continue to dedicate their efforts to keeping kids healthy and learning during school closures and summer break due to coronavirus. Until school is back in session, our response teams are supporting families by distributing resources throughout the community, like curbside deliveries for meals and educational materials. Read more about how one community as learned to adapt to the uncertain times of the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus has had an immeasurable impact on children and families in all 50 states. But no state has had to endure the effects of the coronavirus pandemic longer than Washington, where the first confirmed case in the United States occurred in January, nearly six months ago. Fortunately, Save the Children Early Childhood Coordinators have been on the ground in the Evergreen State since the beginning of the outbreak working hard to ensure some of the state’s most vulnerable kids continue to learn and get the nutrition they need while they’re home from school.

“I’ve been so impressed with the resiliency and the adaptability of our Early Childhood Coordinators who had to move from doing in-person home visits to really becoming response workers,” said Amee Barlet, Washington State Deputy Director. “They stayed connected with the families on their case load through virtual check-ins, and went even further beyond that by stepping up and serving the entire community. They haven’t complained. They’ve just been amazing. And they’ve done it all, while having to balance their own family life with this new way of working.”

In Yakima County, Early Childhood Coordinators Lisa, Mayra and Faviola helped distribute hundreds of thousands of meals, assisting with breakfast and lunch meal distribution to about 2,400 children daily from mid-March to May. The coordinators worked four hours​ per day assisting the district’s food service workers packing breakfast and lunch items. This trio also helped with handing out meals during curbside pickups and even rode school busses to deliver meals across the community.

Grants from Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign totaling in $90,000 spread across three sites, including $50,000 in Yakima County, played a significant role in helping get food to the families who needed it most while schools were closed. The coordinators noted that the regularity of the meal delivery provided comfort and routine for children and families.

A mother of four who works long hours at an apple orchard said, “I am so relieved to know my children have food delivered to our house while I am working.” With children ranging in age from 6-14 who are in the house while she is away at work, having food delivered right to her door gave this mom peace of mind during these unprecedented times.

“I know she was worried about her older child taking care of the other three. She was concerned that they’d have to walk somewhere to get food, or that they would have to turn the oven on and cook while she wasn’t home,” said Lisa. “That’s why she appreciated having ready-to-eat food delivered right to the door so much.”

In addition to making sure children weren’t going hungry, the coordinators also helped keep learning going by pairing educational materials, books and boredom buster distributions with meal deliveries. In Grays Harbor County, Early Childhood Coordinator Rochel set up a book fair at a Chromebook distribution held at a school. Children came to the school to pick up laptops and were treated to an added bonus of free books. Thanks to Rochel’s efforts, approximately 170 children walked away with books that day.

“Because of the efforts and visibility of the Early Childhood Coordinators during the pandemic, more people are recognizing that Save the Children is a valuable partner in the community with resources to share,” said Amee.

As of November 9, the U.S. has surpassed 10 million cases of coronavirus. Learn more about Save the Children's COVID-19 response here.

You're not alone. As a national leader in early childhood education, Save the Children will continue to support and supplement learning – whether it takes place in-person, virtually or in a hybrid model, in the nation’s most rural communities. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been publishing free learning resources and materials to help parents and caregivers, including weekly activities and tips on how to help children cope with school closures.

With your help, we are also working to make sure kids can learn and get the nutrition they need during this crisis, with more than 300K kids served and 6 Million meals prepared and delivered.

In the months ahead, Save the Children will continue to ensure children receive nutritious meals whether in a school building or at home. Learn more about our response to COVID-19 and work across America to keep children healthy, educated and safe.


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