Great New Beginnings childcare center is one of our newest Backpack Program partners. Participating for just a few months now, the center’s owner, Linda Clark, says she is very pleased with the program.
Last spring’s stay-at-home order and business closures shined a light on just how important early education and childcare are. “We always suspected we were an important part of our local communities,” Clark points out. “Without early education/childcare, our local economies would crumble.”
Due to the pandemic, Linda knows that many more of her families are struggling to make ends meet.
When the Food Bank’s Backpack Coordinator Greg Coumatos reached out about participating, Linda jumped on the opportunity. “We feel that a lot of our parents are too proud to ask for help,” she says. “It’s been an amazing opportunity.”
Every child at Great New Beginnings receives their weekend meal bag each week. Meal bags (pictured) are delivered by Food Bank drivers, and inside the bags children and parents will find, shelf-stable milk, cereal, pop-top canned meals and other healthy snacks.
Linda explains, “We have had parents that have said, ‘sometimes getting to the store in the pandemic and feeling safe with a little one has been hard. Having the back-up bag in the cabinet has been a Godsend.’”
Great New Beginnings provides children with breakfast, but due to food allergies, children bring lunch from home.
Linda says her team notices when children may be struggling with food insecurity. “We notice things like candy bars from Halloween coming in for lunch and other odd things that stick out as soon as you open the child’s lunch.”
To learn more about the Backpack Program, click here.