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Helping the helpers: Keeping childcare workers and kids safe in a pandemic

Yessika Magdaleno runs Little Flowers, a small childcare center in Garden Grove. She had 14 clients before the coronavirus pandemic hit and now has 8.

Her two full-time workers remained.

“I couldn’t let them go,” she said.

But she needed help. She reached out to First 5 Orange County, an agency funded by tobacco tax to enrich the health and education of children under 5.

On Friday and Saturday, First 5 Orange County teamed with four other agencies to provide 470 bags of cleaning supplies, masks, gloves and early childhood development books and crafts so centers like Magdaleno’s can stay open and safe during the pandemic.

Childcare providers “already run on a very, very tight budget,” said Kim Goll, president and CEO of First 5 Orange County. Getting them enough pencils, scissors, and glue sticks helps, so kids don’t have to share and risk spreading germs, she said.

“It’s keeping me going,” Magdaleno said of the distribution. “It’s also safer so I don’t have to go out and look for supplies.”

Eight volunteers, including U.S. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), handed out bags Saturday at Pretend City Children’s Museum, a nonprofit museum in Irvine.

Porter, a single mother of an 8-, 12-, and 14-year-old, said she couldn’t be a working mom without the support of childcare.

“Parents shouldn’t have to choose between earning a living and keeping their kids safe,“ she said.

Before leaving to volunteer on Saturday morning, Porter added, she cooked her children chocolate chip pancakes with bacon and told them to “please not fight for one hour.”



Source: Orange County Register

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