The devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place orders can be seen and felt throughout coastal Georgia as schools and early childhood education centers were ordered closed for the remainder of the 2020 school year, according to a press release from Community Action.
Here's the rest of the release:
On March 14, 2020, Governor Brian P. Kemp signed an executive order declaring a public health state of emergency in Georgia in an effort to combat the spread of the deadly infection. Although the closures began with schools, businesses slowly began to see a significant decrease in traffic as the confirmed cases increased, and in the interest of public safety, many businesses decided to close shop indefinitely.
The ongoing pandemic brought normalcy to a screeching halt as hundreds of local residents were furloughed, received a significant reduction in work hours or were ultimately laid off due to a sudden drastic decrease in revenue at their places of employment.
Community Action knew that they would need to organize quickly to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable in the population, children and their families. Center Supervisors, Family Advocates and Education Specialists sprang into action calling early head start parents to coordinate a non-contact drive through distribution for Camden, Evans, Glynn and Liberty counties. At the end of the distribution, over 80 families were provided with cases of baby formula, wipes, and diapers that totaled over $5,400 in value.
When asked by Community Action staff what this gesture means to her, Mrs. Quinn, an Early Head Start parent states, “this means the world to me and my family; especially at a time when finances are really being stretched thin and many of the things given today for my infant daughter are not even on the shelves.”
This swift mobilization of Community Action resources comes as no surprise as Tres Hamilton, Community Action CEO, was recently appointed as a member of Governor Brian Kemp’s Coronavirus Task Force Community Outreach Committee. The task force was created “to continue to serve the needs of all Georgians during this challenging time”, stated Kemp.
“These supplies will help head start families by assisting to relieve the stress they may be feeling during these uncertain times. We choose to not allow this pandemic to be a hurdle in supporting our clients and providing resources when they need them most,” stated Hamilton. She adds that the ECE (Early Childhood Education) program is currently accepting applications.
Community Action provides quality child care and additional services at no cost to pregnant women, infants and toddlers through their early childhood education (Early Head Start, Head Start, Pre-K) curriculum-based programs. Transportation is also provided for students in five counties at no cost based on eligibility.
For more information please visit their website at coastalgacaa.org/early-childhood-education.
The Coastal Georgia Community Action Authority is the largest comprehensive human service agency in Coastal Georgia. The authority, founded in 1967, has provided assistance to more than 1.5 million families. Programs like Head Start, weatherization, energy assistance and income tax preparation are just a few services offered to the Coastal Georgia Community.