The issue arises wherever United Way goes. We hear from business and nonprofit leaders, educators, and especially employees in so many of our partner companies:
Central Minnesota has a childcare crisis.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, so many families with young children have been facing the choice between three options when it comes to childcare:
- Spending a substantial portion of their income on childcare
- Finding a more affordable, but potentially lower-quality childcare option
- Quitting the workforce altogether to become a full-time caregiver
In Central Minnesota, the average monthly costs for two children in full-time childcare is $1,182 or $14,184 per year; which is only made more problematic by the fact that nearly 40% of households in Central Minnesota have an income below $50,000. This sad situation highlights a long-standing problem: Good childcare often costs more than families can afford.
So what do we do?
This is a problem we will continue to work on with our local partners to solve but as COVID-19 hit and schools closed, we realized this problem needed a hero right now.
On Sunday, March 15th Governor Walz made the announcement at 10am that schools would be closed the following day, families started to scramble but our community stepped up.
By 6am the next morning the Boys & Girls Clubs started childcare services from 6 am to 6 pm in three local districts. Unfortunately, there is not state or federal funding for this programming.
These funds were unexpected and unprepared for, that’s where we stepped in.
COVID-19 Relief Fund
United Way of Central Minnesota kicked off our COVID-19 Relief Fund with our own donation of $25,000 and the rest of our community got involved. Thanks to the donations that have started to come in, we were able to reach out to the Boys & Girls Club and assist them with their expenses to continue providing quality programming to Central Minnesota.
These are the types of requests we are hearing from all of our community every single day. The need is high and ever changing. We will continue to fund as many local programs as possible through our Relief Fund to keep live as close to normal as possible for our community.
We may not be able to completely solve the childcare crisis today, but we will continue to support the greatest needs in our community throughout COVID-19 and beyond.
Consider making a donation today to support our community.