To do that, we help parents find the right childcare environment for their children, and provide childcare providers with support, resources and early childhood development training and any other wrap around supports needed for them to be the best caregivers to children.
Our newest program, Nourish Families Initiative was created by Vicky Wallace, a local parent and Play Therapist, at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis in March 2020. The program works by providing a free meal to a family-in-need for every meal that is purchased by a community member, using a buy-one-give-one (BOGO) social enterprise funding model. In the beginning, Nourish Families Initiative was a small social enterprise; generating business to closed restaurants, reducing food-prep and grocery shopping for community families and providing free meals to families who had been hit the hardest by Covid-19. This model worked so well that it was too much for a single person to handle. So, in June of 2020, Childhood Connections took on this program with Vicky as a program consultant.
We’ve now had five different meal partners (and counting) to provide weekly menu options for community members to support the BOGO meal program. With our community purchases generating free meals, our family support workers provide weekly deliveries of:
1. Family Meals -made by our food partners like Relvas, DunnEnzies, CrAsian and Waterfront Wines, and Unami Crave the Fifth,
2. Fresh bread -donated from Okanagan Groceries,
3. Fresh produce -grown, picked and donated by JCI at Helen’s Acres,
4. Along with our child development (activity bags, and toys and resources from our early years library) and parent resources (like the Let’s Play handbook) and program referrals to families-in-need!
But most of all this program brought these families what they needed most: Connection. And as host of the Child Care Resource and Referral, Ages & Stages Questionnaire, Family Resource, and Playful Healing programs (free play therapy services for children), Childhood Connections can wrap around the supports of their other valuable resources, services and training to provide a hand-up, not just a hand-out.