Daycare reopens with help of United Way restart grant

Posted at 5:59 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 17:59:03-04

INDIANAPOLIS — There is grant money from the United Way of Central Indiana and the city of Indianapolis but the deadline to apply is Saturday.

The money will reimburse costs these organizations have had to spend on safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant money is already helping non-profit organizations across the city, including St. Mary's Child Center. After being closed down during the pandemic, the center reopened its doors on Wednesday.

LEARN MORE | United Way of Central Indiana Nonprofit Restart Program

For the last several months, the outdoor play area at St. Mary's Child Center has been empty.

"Feels so wonderful to have the kids back," Connie Sherman, executive director of St. Mary's Child Center, said. "You can feel the joy of the kids in the building also the joy of the adults."

Sherman said most of the parents that bring their kids to the daycare are non-essential workers and have stayed home with their children.

"I'm telling you we are so grateful to the United Way and the city of Indianapolis," Sherman said. "St. Mary's serves a lot of children who come from poverty so most of our kids come on scholarship."

Right now, the center has raised money to be able to provide 70 percent of the children with a scholarship, which is why the restart grant money has been such a big help since they don't have a lot of extra money to be spending on cleaning and safety measures during the pandemic.

"I don't know how we would've done it without it," Sherman said.

With the grant money they were able to pay for professional sanitization services and purchase cleaning supplies they hope will last through the end of the year. But despite all of these steps, Sherman said some parents haven't brought their kids back and they aren't at full capacity.

"They are nervous. They are very nervous," Sherman said. "I think they want to see what happens. Some of them are waiting a little bit. I can understand that. I'm a grandmother. I have four grandchildren that I am worried about what's going to happen to them."

There are 50 spots still open at the center. Throughout the day, kids are kept in small groups and before parents drop them off they get their temperature taken and go through a screening process.

To apply for the restart grant program, a non-profit must be located in Marion County.