TAMPA, FL — More than 700 Tampa Bay area childcare providers are experiencing both devastating losses and mounting costs as a result of the coronavirus. Under the direction of its board of directors, the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County surveyed providers and found that items such as thermometers, sanitizing supplies, paper goods, masks and gloves topped the list as much-needed and sought-after items.
With added safeguards in place to protect the community’s youngest residents, the ELCHC has launched a COVID-19 Relief Supply Drive to provide needed supplies to local childcare centers.
“It is our responsibility to help childcare providers throughout the year, but our board felt it especially important to assist educators who are now experiencing mounting challenges as a result of COVID-19,” said ELCHC Chief Executive Officer Gordon Gillette. “This program will help ensure critically needed supplies and help level the playing field for our community’s early learning programs that have continued their commitment to care for our children.”
In addition to the fundraising launch, the ELCHC announced its first major gift from TECO Energy and TECO Peoples Gas in the amount of $25,000. The donation will go directly to purchase infrared medical-grade thermometers for the coronavirus program. TECO’s donation positions the ELCHC halfway to its overall $50,000 fundraising goal. A second gift from ELCHC Chairman Aakash Patel will also provide more than 200 surgical masks to area childcare centers.
“TECO Peoples Gas has been a longtime supporter of education and more specifically early learning. There is no better time for our organization to extend our commitment to the community than during this pandemic,” said Luke Buzard, vice president of TECO Peoples Gas. “The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County is making incredible contributions to support the kids of our community by keeping them safe while prioritizing quality early learning. It is our honor to contribute to the impactful efforts that they are making in the community.”
The supply drive, which began Monday, will collect donations through Wednesday, July 22. Supplies will be distributed to childcare centers starting in early August. Monetary donations are encouraged as they are subject to matching funds and allow the ELCHC to maximize the program’s impact on the community. Those interested in donating should click here.
For in-kind donations, contact ELCHC’s director of resource development and community relations, Alison Fraga, at firstname.lastname@example.org.