Addison, Ill. (AP) – Every Tuesday afternoon, families ﬁnd a lifeline at the Addison Children’s Center.
Angelina Perez receives a care package for her three children while schools and prekindergarten programs are shut down. With her hours reduced at work in the restaurant industry, the supplies provided by Metropolitan Family Services DuPage help ease some of the ﬁnancial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’re always checking on us, asking if we need help with anything,” the Addison mom, 29, said. “It’s just a good program.”
As one of the main providers of early childhood services in DuPage County, Metropolitan is distributing baby wipes, diapers, formula, nonperishable food and at-home activity kits for families struggling to afford basic necessities. Demand quickly ramped up after the effort began in late March.
“As this pandemic has continued and increased, we’re seeing families dive deeper and deeper into poverty because they’re not working now,” said Darby Pool, Metropolitan’s associate director of early learning.
The nonproﬁt organization had to tap unrestricted funds to meet the need until a corporate partner provided a ﬁnancial boost.
A $25,000 grant from PNC Foundation will now allow Metropolitan to extend the weekly distribution through the end of August.
“We’ve worked with them on a variety of initiatives, particularly focusing on early childhood education, and have always had great respect for the breadth of their capabilities, the connectivity to communities throughout the greater Chicagoland area,” said Scott Swanson, PNC Bank regional president for Illinois.
Households are turning to Metropolitan for cases and multiple bags of diapers – an expense not covered by SNAP and other safety-net programs. Disposable diapers can cost $70 to $80 every month per child, according to the National Diaper Bank Network.
So far, more than 175 families have picked up items through a contactless exchange at the Addison Children’s Center, a central hub and one of Metropolitan’s early learning sites in DuPage.