In an effort to help ease financial burden for childcare providers, the United Way of Tarrant County is preparing to distribute about 100,000 PPE products between Friday and Saturday.
Leah King, President and CEO of the United Way of Tarrant County, said most of those products are masks. Their efforts will benefit about 200 childcare providers, King said.
“We are exhausting every resource we can get our hands on but lucky for us, we continue to get donations that help us meet the demand,” King told NBC 5 Friday. “It’s very difficult, especially if you’re an independent childcare facility. Your buying power just isn’t there. When you need maybe just a few hundred masks, the price is just through the roof and it makes it very much unaffordable.”
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The products were distributed drive-thru style Friday in Fort Worth. One of the centers which received products was Clayton Youth Enrichment. Robert Hamilton, the organization’s director of programs, said they operate about 60 after-school and childcare programs across Fort Worth.
Depending on the program, they serve anywhere from 15 to 50 students per campus.
“If you could imagine at home, you take your $5 bottle of bleach or Clorox cleaning wipes and then your $2 for every mask in your family, multiple that times 40 or 50 kids. Plus, we’re having to reuse them every month,” Hamilton said. “It’s truly an ongoing cost and this helps to have us invest our dollars in the staff and the kids’ supplies instead of PPE.”
Efforts like the one through the United Way of Tarrant County can be beneficial when it comes to slowing the spread of COVID-19, according to Dr. Priya Bui with the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Bui, a general pediatrician for UNTHSC, said it’s a misconception that children are less likely be infectious.
“This peak, especially in our area, we’re seeing that it is highly younger people including children and teenagers,” Bui said. “While we’re very relieved that it seems like the majority of the kids do well, they can easily give it to their grandparents, even their parents. Give it to others, give it other children who might give it to their families.”
Masks can help reduce that risk, Bui added.
How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
“I think all pediatricians can agree that we do see cases come from child care centers, even maybe from school. At the same time, the majority of what we see come from some type of family gathering, sporting events,” she told NBC 5 on Friday.
As the world continues to navigate the pandemic, Hamilton said they’re doing what they can with the help of community support.
“We’re grateful that Fort Worth, in particular, is really coming together to provide for the kids,” he said. “We’re just so grateful for the partnerships of not only United Way, but of our school districts and of our parents too who are choosing to enroll their kids in our programs.”
In September, the United Way of Tarrant County launched a free PPE program for non-profits and churches. King said they recently opened the distribution to childcare providers after learning of the needs through Child Care Associates.
Since September, more than one million PPE products have been distributed through the United Way of Tarrant County.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.