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Children’s Center providing supplies, books for children

The Children’s Center has provided children in its virtual program with bags of educational supplies to help support them as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“We’re excited to get them in their hands,” said Tamie Rittenhouse, Head Start director for the Children’s Center.

She said it would allow them to support the overall health and well-being of each child. The bags were filled with toothbrushes, books and educational supplies such as worksheets and other items that they would normally receive if they were attending school in person.

Parents of the virtual students picked them up Oct. 15, the same day as Virginia First Lady Pam Northam paid a visit to the Suffolk Head Start Center. Bags that were not picked up were delivered to the families.

For Head Start, there are 195 kids program-wide that are participating in virtual learning, Rittenhouse said.
“I think probably a lot of families who have children who are in public school and those children were home, they opted to keep everybody home,” Rittenhouse said, “but we wanted to make sure they had the age-appropriate materials and supplies in the home to do the preschool type of activities. The teachers are doing online instruction, so the parents can log-on and do lessons and things like that.”

Farmer’s Bank helped with donations of backpacks and supplies, while it also used some of its funding from the federal Office of Head Start for COVID-19 relief, “because these are not expenses that we would not have normally had.”

“While we had to do all of the health and safety kinds of things for children who are not coming in for center-based services,” Rittenhouse said, “we’re providing the virtual component and we wanted to be able to get the supplies and materials into the homes so that they can do the same types of activities that they would otherwise be doing at school.”