Updated March 20, 2020.
The Harvest Foundation will partner with the United Way and Smart Beginnings Martinsville Henry to provide a $150,000 Emergency Childcare Relief Fund to aid priority healthcare and first responders in meeting short-term childcare needs.
“It’s impossible to plan for each and every contingency because the situation changes frequently, but we can do our best to prepare for the worst and hope for favorable outcomes,” said Allyson Rothrock, Harvest Foundation president. “The COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged us to work outside of our comfort zones and make sure we do all we can to support our community.”
A task force of local nonprofit and government leaders previously convened to discuss issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and possible ways the community could begin to address needs.
“We decided to focus first on the most critical assets that will get us through this tough time — our first responders and healthcare workers,” Rothrock added.
United Way will serve as administrator of the fund and work with local partners and childcare providers to establish a plan for emergency childcare services adhering to state and federal protocols for childcare and recommendations by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
They will then coordinate with health care employers and local government to connect their high-demand workers with services to meet short-term needs until pending state and federal resources can be deployed to the community.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation that highlights the importance of planning and early preparedness,” said Philip Wenkstern, executive director of United Way of Henry County and Martinsville. “Ensuring that our healthcare system and first responders are able to address emerging challenges in our community is a priority. We commend the Harvest Foundation for their foresight in working to build resilient systems that are able to evolve with the changing needs of our community. These early conversations and actions will hopefully mitigate adverse impacts on our region associated with COVID-19.”