Local Groups Make Plans for Emergency Child Care
Grand Nation and the Craig County Christian Community are working together to help those students who will be most impacted by the shutdown.
With a possible statewide teacher strike or walkout looming, school boards across the state are meeting to discuss plans to close down schools. Locally, Grand Nation and the Craig County Christian Community are making plans to take care of those students who will be most impacted by the shutdown.
“In times like this, a teachers’ strike will inconvenience wealthy families and it will put a strain on middle-income families, but it will be devastating for low-income families because they have no safety net,” said Shannon Baker, a Grand Nation community mobilizer and local pastor. “We want to meet that need.”
On Thursday, March 15, Baker and other concerned members of the community met at the Grand Nation office in Vinita to discuss ideas on what volunteer services may be needed to help families whose children may need food or supervision in the case of a school shutdown.
A decision was made to provide emergency child care and meals for 4K through fifth grade students from Vinita’s Will Rogers and Hall-Halsell elementary schools whose working parents/caregivers have no other options available.
The emergency child care will be offered from 7:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on regular school days. Parents or caregivers will be responsible for dropping off and picking up their children each day. The child care will be available to low-income families on a first-come, first-served basis. Each student’s acceptance will be based on family need.
Grand Nation, a nonprofit grassroots coalition whose mission is to assist families seeking a better life, estimates that approximately 60 percent of the families of the schools’ 700 elementary students will need help with either food or supervision should a shutdown occur.
The coalition is asking the community to volunteer and/or donate food, money and supplies to help provide emergency child care should the strike/walkout happen. Volunteers will be needed to work with students, present activities or crafts and provide food for breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack, as well as prepare and serve the meals. Even CDL-certified bus drivers will be needed to transport students to planned activities.
Several area churches have already agreed to host students at their facilities. In addition, surveys will be distributed at all Vinita area churches during Sunday and Wednesday services asking for information from people who can volunteer in any capacity.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact their pastors. Those not be affiliated with a local church can contact Grand Nation for volunteer placement.
To make a monetary donation, contact Grand Nation or send checks with Emergency Child Care written in the memo line to Grand Nation, P.O. Box 572, Vinita, OK 74301.
If a walk-out is averted and the emergency child care is not needed, you can request to have your unused donation returned or donate it to the Craig County Back-to-School Bash.
Informational fliers will be distributed to elementary students in Vinita Public Schools on Monday, March 26. All students must be pre-registered no later than Thursday, March 29.
For groups in the Grand Lake area who are interested in providing similar emergency child care support in their communities, Grand Nation staff is available to help them get organized and set up, said Jennifer Hinson, Grand Nation executive director.
For more information on volunteering, donating or learning how their community can provide emergency child care, call Grand Nation at (918) 609-0236.
ABOUT GRAND NATION
Grand Nation is a nonprofit grassroots coalition that has been serving the Grand Lake area since 2012. An umbrella organization for a number of different programs, Grand Nation joins families seeking a better life with the resources and community organizations that can help them achieve their goal. Located at 120 E. Illinois, Suite 306, in Vinita, Grand Nation serves the communities of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, including Vinita, Grove, Jay, Afton, Ketchum, Langley, Miami, Bluejacket and Spavinaw. The phone number is (918) 276-2192.