EAST POINT, Ga. — Back in early April, Park Schools Montessori decided to reopen their daycare centers in an effort to provide safe, reliable childcare for front line employees.
Since the COVID-19 shutdown first began back in March, essential workers have been challenged to find ways to provide daily meals as well as supervision for their children while they continue working a full-time schedule.
However, upon re-opening, another need became abundantly clear to the staff at Park Schools - food scarcity.
With the convergence of school closings and widespread layoffs resulting in historic unemployment rates, residents found it increasingly harder to put food on the table for their families.
Partnering with local non-profit, Georgia Nutritional Services, Park Schools Montessori began offering free breakfast and lunch to the first pre-registered 50 children.
The Conyers-based organization focuses primarily on providing food programs for daycare centers, both child and adult, at-risk, and summer food service programs for children.
The Executive Director of Park Schools Montessori, Tiffany Layden, tells My East Point News that from the feedback they have received, parents main concern has been, the primary need for most families is food.
“We’re just are trying to get as much help as we can to the parents coming in. We've got a lot of interest, starting back up because people are starting to get back to work and we've got the essential employees,” Layden says.
The Park Schools location on Washington Road has been a food site available to East Point and the surrounding communities since April 13, and according to the staff, it was has become quite a helpful resource to unemployed and at-risk families.
Eilene Green heard about the Park School food site through the grapevine from a friend. She lives in the Smyrna area and is a mother of a five-year-old and currently unemployed. Green had this to share with My East Point News.
“Honestly, it's refreshing because, you know, when you're struggling you feel like you don't have that hope,“ says Green, “So when you find programs like this willing to help, you don't feel like you're failing or anymore.”
Park Schools Montessori will also be beginning their summer camp starting June 15, for parents who may be getting a little stir-crazy after being relatively shut-in with their families for the past three months.
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