A Save the Children staff member delivers essential items to families in Kentucky at a local school. Thirty million kids in America rely on school for food and learning. With the coronavirus closing schools across the country, children living in rural America are without both. Photo credit: Save the Children US
Helping Kids During Coronavirus Pandemic, Rain or Shine
Save the Children continues to respond to the coronavirus outbreak across rural America by providing some of the poorest communities with resources and support while children and families shelter in place. These efforts ensure children and families have access to nutritious meals and continue learning until schools reopen. Here is a story of how Save the Children responded to communities in Kentucky who, already hit hard by closures due to coronavirus, were left without power during severe weather.
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When it rains, it pours, they say. This was the case, quite literally, in Kentucky recently, when severe rain and wind traveled through the state’s eastern counties, leaving thousands without power. The storm came at a time when many kids and families throughout these counties – some of the state’s poorest – were already struggling as they shelter at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
After the storm and amidst a pandemic, Save the Children staff have been working with partners to help make sure children and families’ needs are met during the power outage. This includes providing critical supplies like water and ice – to help keep perishable food fresh until the power came back on – as well as planned coronavirus-related distribution events including Instant Pots for quick meals, hygiene kits, books and learning games and toys.
The team effort is among many Save the Children has helped mobilize in recent weeks in some of Kentucky’s poorest rural communities since schools have closed due to coronavirus concerns.
“During this time, while children are out of school – and in many cases, missing meals they would normally get at school – Save the Children is working to help provide them with nutritious food and fun and engaging learning opportunities,” said Stephanie Lakes, Deputy Director for Save the Children’s Kentucky programs.
“For me, it is an extremely rewarding and humbling experience to see the excitement on children and families’ faces when they receive meals and a packet of educational activities and games.”
Save the Children continues to partner with school districts throughout the state where its early learning and education programs support some of the most vulnerable kids living in poverty, preparing and delivering meals, distributing books and educational resources and quickly adapting its programs to help keep kids learning and their bellies full while schools are shuttered.
In Owsley County, for example, Save the Children and local school district staff have provided lunches for more than 700 families since schools closed. In addition, they’ve worked together to provide activity bags, craft kits, and safety and prevention information to children and families across the county, committing to four hours on school buses each day to make sure children have the resources they need.
“Getting new books and educational materials into the hands of children keeps them excited about learning during this difficult time,” said Alissa Taylor, State Director for Save the Children’s Kentucky programs. “Providing board games that encourage family engagement and seeing smiling faces reminds me why I love working for Save the Children.”
Save the Children’s support has also reached local health professionals in Spencer County, where one of its community coalition grants has yielded a 3D printer a local teacher is using to make face masks and shields for local doctors and nurses to protect them from the coronavirus.
The printer is one of the many items purchased with the grant earlier this year, which established a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) space at the county’s local middle school for kids to gather and create.
Yes, rain or shine, Save the Children staff are making sure children in the Bluegrass State continue to learn, develop and grow, and supporting their communities.
For more facts about coronavirus, including how Save the Children's teams are doing everything we can to build plans to keep children protected and healthy, visit our Coronavirus Response page.
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