It’s a tough time for the children and families served by Children’s Home & Aid across Central Illinois. The double whammy of the COVID-19 virus and the resulting economic downturn are having a huge impact on families who were already very stressed before the virus hit.
Fortunately, our generous community of donors is stepping up to help!
“Bloomington area donors, both individuals and companies, have stepped up in a huge way to help our children and families during this pandemic,” says Mendy Smith, Regional Vice President at Children’s Home & Aid. “From providing gloves, masks and hand sanitizer for our Crisis Nursery to diapers, formula and household supplies for our families, the generous folks of Bloomington are helping their neighbors get through this most difficult time.
Children’s Home & Aid serves nearly 3,000 children and families annually in 11 counties across Central Illinois, through home-visiting and doula programs, crisis nursery and intervention, parent support and counseling programs. Our crisis nursery continues to be the first point of contact for many families seeking help with all sorts of needs, from diapers to support with the stress of being on quarantine.
“One family in our Doula home visiting program reached out recently for help – the mom is nine months pregnant, and both parents work in food service so have been laid off or had hours severely reduced,” Mendy says. “Instead of being able to fully enjoy the impending birth of their first child, they were worried about losing their home. Thanks to our generous donors, we were able to cover their rent for a month and connect them with other services so they can rest assured they will have a safe and loving home for their newborn baby.”
Our Scott Early Learning Center had to close March 17, but teachers continue to reach out to their kids with educational activities and support for the families. Staff miss their kids, but the children miss their teachers even more. One little girl thanked her teacher by video and expressed that she is looking forward to going back to school. Earlier this month, more than 75 of our families participated in a “Grab and Go” event at the Scott Center, picking up diapers, formula and other essential supplies.
During the last two weeks of March, the Crisis Nursery provided essential needs and resources for 82 families across the Bloomington community, in all a total of nearly 2,000 essential needs items, thanks to our wonderful donors.
All the while, staff from the crisis nursery have been posting fun videos online for families to do simple experiments at home, to keep children occupied and learning!
One of the biggest challenges we are facing across the agency is the cancellation of all of our Spring fundraising events due to the statewide lockdown. In Bloomington, we had to cancel several events, including our annual luncheon which had been scheduled for May 11.
“Our luncheon normally raises $30,000 which helps support all of our essential programs,” says Mendy. “We are asking the community to help replace those funds, ensuring our programs continue to stay up and running for families in need.”
Thank you so much to all our wonderful Central Illinois donors for remembering the children and families we serve!