Necessity is the mother of invention, so when local school districts shuttered their facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way of Abilene reimagined solutions for the community. That included a plan for easing the child care burden faced by essential workers shouldering the brunt of the public health crisis.
In collaboration with local school districts, afterschool programs and more, United Way launched the Abilene United Day Camp in two locations.
The camps were open between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to accommodate parents’ schedules. Children had play and enrichment activities, educational sessions, and help with assignments from teacher volunteers, along with free breakfast and lunch. Meals were provided by the schools, and United Way’s corporate partners stepped up to underwrite lunch for camp staff. Other nonprofits contributed supplies for activities like mask-making and other fun projects. In its first three months, the camps served 229 children between the ages of 5 and 12, giving front-line workers the freedom to focus on their demanding jobs.