Though the stormy October days of Hurricane Sandy may seem long ago, many households and small businesses continue to struggle from setbacks brought by the storm. Family child care providers, whose small businesses are run out of their homes, are among those still striving toward recovery.
Fortunately, through the United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund, All Our Kin was able to award grants to thirty-one providers in Greater New Haven to help repay lost income and fix damages due to Hurricane Sandy, helping them work toward economic stability and a thriving, sustainable business once again.
A total of $23,000 was awarded to providers in five Greater New Haven towns. These grants were small, but impactful. They ranged from $190 to $990, with the majority of grants- fifteen- between $500 and $850. Twenty-one grant recipients live and run their programs in New Haven. The remaining ten reside and work in West Haven, East Haven, Hamden, and Branford. Collectively, they have the capacity to serve 186 children.
Many providers were forced to close their programs for days and even weeks after Hurricane Sandy due to power outages or damage that made their space unsafe for children, forfeiting crucial income. Reimbursement for this lost income will enable family child care providers to better provide for themselves, their own families, and the families they serve. The funds will help them pay bills, buy supplies for their programs, and operate their programs. Funds will also help providers fix damages, making their program and home safer and more conducive to learning. For example, many providers’ outdoor space was damaged in some way due to the hurricane. With these funds, providers will be able to clear fallen trees, repair swing sets, and rebuild fences, and will be able to engage children in outdoor learning once again. This added stability in the provider’s life also creates more reliable and quality child care programs, giving working parents sustainable child care options and giving children positive environments in which to grow.
Looked to by families as pillars of strength in their neighborhoods, many providers invested their own time and monetary resources in emergency relief efforts during and after the hurricane. They opened their homes after hours so families without power could shower and eat; they sent food, batteries, and other supplies home with families in need; and they kept children safe and cared for- at times without compensation- when parents unexpectedly needed child care while schools were closed or while they worked extended hours in hospitals and nursing homes. Through this grant program, providers were repaid for personal funds that went toward food and supplies during Hurricane Sandy.
This opportunity was deeply meaningful to providers. Providers were touched to know that people cared about their work and the losses they suffered because of the storm. This grant opportunity showed family child care providers that our community values them for their entrepreneurship, their role as teachers and caregivers, and their willingness to go beyond the call of duty, especially in times of crisis. Enormous thanks to the United Way of Greater New Haven for recognizing the key role of family child care in our community and for collaborating with All Our Kin to make this grant program possible.
For more on what family child care providers experienced during and after Hurricane Sandy, check out our blog post by clicking here.