In support of the region’s childcare providers, First 5 San Diego announced an end-of-year supply distribution effort involving San Diego for Every Child, SupplyBank.Org, YMCA of San Diego County, the United Domestic Workers of America UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, and The Chicano Federation of San Diego County. The expanded distribution of emergency supplies to childcare providers comes from recent increased funding from First 5 California. The outreach increases access to hard-to-find and costly items such as cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, as well as infrared thermometers, so that childcare providers can continue to support families throughout San Diego County during the ongoing pandemic.

The event at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, where the supplies were being stored, was a chance to thank childcare providers in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday while highlighting opportunities for public-private partnerships to continue supporting these needs. The First 5 California Emergency Supplies Program is expanding its commitment from $4 million to $5 million to provide emergency supplies for all 58 counties statewide, including in San Diego County. The event also recognized a recent $50,000 donation, with $20,000 going toward supplies and $30,000 to distance learning stipends for providers, from The Parker Foundation, which is dedicated to the betterment of life for people throughout San Diego County. Items purchased from that donation are being combined with those from the First 5 California Emergency Supplies Program to reach those most in need throughout San Diego County.

The supplies acquired through the additional funding are destined for providers who have not yet received supply kits, which have been distributed throughout the year. The goal is to complete all provider requests in San Diego County by the end of the year, reaching 1,400 providers.

“It is imperative that we continue supporting our childcare providers and front-line community agencies who have remained open and are providing essential services, especially as the region faces recent increased health safety measures. We know how critical it is to have personal protective equipment supplies readily available for childcare providers and community agencies as they implement operational modifications to continue supporting families and their children,” said Alethea Arguilez, executive director of First 5 San Diego. “We are grateful for partners like the YMCA of San Diego County, the Chicano Federation of San Diego County, UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, San Diego for Every Child and others for being our boots on the ground and making sure our network of providers are receiving the support they need.”

The First 5 California Emergency Supplies Program serves childcare providers not reimbursed by the state for personal protective equipment and other community-based agencies serving the broader needs of many children and families in urban and rural San Diego County. By the end of this year, this program will have distributed in 2020 throughout San Diego County more than 1 million diapers and baby wipes; 249,550 masks; 312,000 disposable gloves; 16,903 disinfectant wipes and cleaning supplies; 23,460 hand soaps and hand sanitizers; 960 First 5 infrared thermometers; and 6,240 children’s books.

“The program’s initial focus was to address the unprecedented shortages and urgent demand of essential supplies for childcare providers and the community,” said Camille Maben, executive director of First 5 California. “As we have continued to learn more about the virus, we have refocused our efforts to providing local county commissions support for reducing community spread and detecting symptoms as early as possible, which is why we are pleased to be distributing nearly 11,000 infrared thermometers to essential service providers remaining open during the pandemic.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states infrared thermometers are safer than oral use thermometers and the non-contact approach may reduce the risk of spreading disease between people being evaluated. Additional benefits cited by the FDA include the ease of use, ease of cleaning, rapid readings capability and ability to reuse quickly, which make them one of many effective tools distributed by First 5 California to combat the spread of the virus.

To facilitate the purchase and distribution of these supplies, First 5 California is working in conjunction with SupplyBank.Org—a California-based nonprofit that specializes in leveraging bulk purchasing power and innovative supply chain strategies—to provide low-cost supplies to organizations supporting low-income and vulnerable populations.

“We’re excited to be able utilize our model to address the emergency needs with our allied agencies in San Diego County and throughout California,” said Benito Delgado-Olson, founder and executive director of SupplyBank.Org. “We are grateful for the partnership and leadership of First 5 California, First 5 San Diego, and all other contributors for joining the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ensure all families have health, safety and comfort during this unprecedented time.”

Supplies that were displayed at the Nov. 19 event will be distributed in upcoming weeks to childcare providers throughout San Diego County in coordination with the United Domestic Workers of America UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 and the Chicano Federation of San Diego County, which have maintained a list of remaining providers in the region who have requested access to the supplies.