Madea’s Loving Hands Childcare prides itself on providing a caring environment for children in Arcadia. But it’s the eyes, not the hands, of owner Sabrina Humphrey that recently left an indelible impression.
When United Way Suncoast Education Manager Maria Castillo-Aguilar worked with Humphrey to place an order to replace playground items damaged by Hurricane Ian, Humphrey’s eyes filled with tears.
“I’ve been praying hard because I had been in the process of opening my center when the hurricane delayed me from getting children enrolled,” Humphrey said. “I am so grateful United Way Suncoast was able to bless my preschool and am thankful for the support and encouragement through this difficult time. I did not have any income coming in with my site closed and have been struggling financially.”
Loving Hands joins a list of DeSoto County childcare centers facing financial struggles as Hurricane Ian devastated their playgrounds with fierce winds and rain. The historic flooding of the Peace River resulted in the closures of sites for safety and in accordance with licensing. The centers provide essential services for working families eager to restore a sense of normalcy for their children.
With team members like Maria and Alma Ovalle recognizing the needs of childcare centers and other stricken residents, United Way Suncoast crafted a strategic plan for mid- and long-term relief that fulfills specific requests. With Amazon’s assistance, United Way Suncoast will deliver more than 40 mattresses to residents in DeSoto County and hard-hit Myakka City on Dec. 10.
This work aligns with a larger strategy and partnership called the Quality Childcare Initiative, which supports childcare centers with additional professional development opportunities.
The disaster recovery efforts and the Quality Childcare Initiative represent just two ways we’ve tried to assist ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families dealing with the aftermath of Ian, the ongoing economic challenges triggered by the worldwide pandemic, runaway inflation and an eviction crisis.
Because of caring people like you, United Way Suncoast has supported our friends and neighbors across our region with food, supplies, shelter, job opportunities and other items that provide a measure of stability.
Your support has made all that possible, but we can’t stop now. Together, we can make a brighter holiday and a better 2023 for individuals, children and families throughout our five-county footprint. Together, we can give hope. Together we can help community members thrive.
Please consider a gift to help those dealing with the aftermath of this terrible storm, and those grappling with life’s daily storms.