The Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center is now offering child care at no cost to families of essential workers, including, among others, health care professionals, food service employees, utility workers, and first responders.
The center’s executive board decided on Tuesday to waive all fees, said Katy Graves, the director. While the organization SCOPE is working to provide child care for free in 12 school districts west of here, none are on the South Fork.
“It is a critical and urgent time in our community, and for our entire country, to pull together to support our most essential workers,” Ms. Graves said. “The center has been here for 50 years, and during that time we have maintained our service and commitment to the workers, and we want to continue to do that. That’s why this is such an important step.”
The center does not receive any county, state, or federal funding for its services. A handful of donors, including the Maidstone Club and the East Hampton Police Benevolent Association, have provided much-needed support and food to send home with the children on the weekends, Ms. Graves said.
The program runs from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with lunch and two snacks each day. The process of registration, online at ewecc.org , has been simplified, said Ms. Graves. Those with questions can email her and the program director, Robyn Mott, at [email protected] and [email protected].
The program will support up to 80 children from 18 months of age to sixth grade, with no more than 10 children in each room. The East Hampton School District is providing custodians to clean the facilities regularly.
“They can leave them in our safe hands so they can go about doing their very important work,” Ms. Graves said.