Update 4/5/20: This story has been updated with additional details for those interested in applying for child-care services.
The Hamilton Area YMCA is holding a food drive to benefit Mercer Street Friends, and has also announced that they will be offering full-day child-care services for those who are on the front line in the coronavirus crisis.
For the food drive, the Y is asking members of the community to drop off donations in bins that are located at the front of the JKR Branch, 1315 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road, every Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Foods to donate include nonperishable nutritious food: canned tuna, chicken and salmon; canned fruits and vegetables; soups; and pasta, rice and nonsugary breakfast cereals.
Other items they are accepting are single-serving, 100% juice boxes; cereal boxes and bowls and oatmeal packets; granola bars; applesauce; peanut butter (in 18-ounce plastic containers); and squeezable grape jelly.
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Starting Tuesday, April 7, the Hamilton Area YMCA will also be offering a full-day child-care program at two locations for emergency medical service personnel, police, fire, and hospital employees.
Services are available to health-care workers and first responders from throughout the general area, whether or not they are members of the Hamilton Area YMCA.
The State of New Jersey is currently covering the cost of childcare for essential workers, regardless of income. More information is on the state’s emergency child-care website.
An essential employee who needs childcare can visit the registration page and select a county. Applicants will be contacted by one of the state’s Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies within two business days to discuss the next steps.
Additional documents may be request from the state. Families will need to complete required health forms upon registering, and there is an Essential Personnel Child Care Handbook listed on the page under downloads that has details on screening upon entry, drop-off and pick-up procedures, snacks and meals, and cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
The Hamilton YMCA says it has health protocols in place to ensure a high level of safety, and that care will be provided in a state-licensed program with qualified, trained child-care providers.
The program is for children ages 3 to 12. For children with special needs, YMCA staff will review cases individually to determine eligibility for care.
The cost is $50 per day, per child, and will be available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at two locations: the Hamilton Area YMCA Owls Preschool at the JKR Branch for children 3 to 5; and University Heights Elementary School, 645 Paxson Ave., for children ages 6 to 12.
To register for the child-care program, contact Beverly Gessner, vice president of child learning and development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hamilton Area YMCA is also posting daily newsletters with news, tips and programming for the community. Phone: 609-581-9622.