While practicing compassionate social distancing, Save the Children staff provide food to a family in rural Kentucky as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact families across America.

While practicing compassionate social distancing, Save the Children staff provide food to a family in rural Kentucky as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact families across America. Photo credit: Tammy Jacobs / Save the Children, March 2020. 

Helping America’s Kids Learn and Get Nutritious Meals During the Coronavirus Pandemic

With 94% of America’s schools shuttering their doors this month due to coronavirus concerns, Save the Children has been working to support the most vulnerable children in some of rural America’s poorest communities. Our efforts are focused on making sure they’re able to continue to learn and get the nutrition they need while they’re home from school.


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“Wide-scale learning loss could be among the biggest impacts coronavirus has on children in America. That’s why we are providing essential learning resources to families, so they can keep the learning going at home,” said Betsy Zorio, vice president of Save the Children’s U.S. Programs and Advocacy. “We’re also concerned about the impact school closures will have on children’s nutrition, with more than 30 million kids relying on free or reduced priced meals served at school. We are collaborating with No Kid Hungry and community partners to find creative ways to serve kids during this growing crisis. Children are relying on us.”

In Owsley County, Kentucky, Save the Children staff members Patricia, Phyllis, Robin and Sara Jo have continued to partner with the local school district to provide 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 to thrive during this unprecedented time.

Ninety minutes down the road, in remote Knott County, Kentucky, Save the Children early learning coordinator Tammy and volunteer Robin have been teaming up with school district staff to provide care packages to area families that include wipes, books, early learning tips and fun, educational activities, all handed out during breakfast and lunch deliveries along the district’s bus routes.

These are just a few of Save the Children’s many daily efforts across rural America, helping provide food and educational resources to nearly 90,000 children in 200 school communities in 10 states amidst school closures.

Staff members are also working to swiftly adapt and deliver Save the Children’s early learning and school age education programs while families shelter in place at home. This includes initiating virtual home visits for early learning families, where it may be possible, or regular phone check-ins to gauge families’ well-being and provide tips on daily lesson planning to continue young children’s growth and development. Staff are also working to provide virtual story time and read-alouds for families via Facebook Live or other means, creating daily Facebook posts or regular texts with lesson plans and tips, and providing learning packets for early learning and school age families who may have trouble accessing internet.  

In addition, Save the Children has launched Coronavirus and Kids: Resources from Save the Children, which provides free online educational resources and tips for families.

Save the Children’s coronavirus response efforts have also been strengthened with the tremendous support of #SAVEWITHSTORIES – an initiative launched by actors Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams. Jennifer, a member of Save the Children’s Board of Trustees, and Amy are sharing their favorite books and stories on Instagram and Facebook – and asking their friends to do the same – to drive donations to Save the Children and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign’s efforts to provide critical learning resources and nutritious meals to kids while they’re home from school.

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