Serving Essential Workers

Bridging the Supply Chain Gap Keeps Child Cares Open amid Pandemic

When the stay-at-home orders began in March, Governor Cooper charged the Smart Start system of partnerships to serve as a hub of resources for child care centers to ensure they could remain open to serve essential workers. COVID-19 initially drove closure of nearly 30% of licensed facilities in our county that already had “child care deserts.” The lack of cleaning supplies threatened even more closures. Without available child care, nurses, EMS drivers, and other critical frontline workers could not report to work.

WCSS rallied to assess needs, cultivate resources, and connect centers with supplies.

The Early Childhood Initiatives (ECI) team reached out to warehouse distributor FreshPoint (a division of Sysco) and requested they pivot supplies normally sent to restaurants – closed due to COVID-19 –to child care centers serving essential workers. Staff surveyed all 500+ licensed child care facilities in the community to identify what items they needed to stay open but were unable to find. They organized multiple curbside pickups for providers, loading bags and boxes of hard-to-find hand sanitizer, paper towels, and cleaning wipes into trunks. Private donors like you stepped forward, providing $37,000 in donations to support supply purchases not covered by program dollars.

It’s anticipated that even with some state level efforts a more nimble, customized response will be needed. Will you give to help us keep this connection of critical supplies flowing as needed?


About Quality Enhancement (QE)
QE is a funded program within the Early Childhood Initiatives Department at WCSS. Quality Enhancement Specialists work with 1, 2, 3, and 4-star child care facilities to improve the quality of early education for children through a variety of services including consultation, training, and technical assistance at no cost.