May 15 UPDATE:
Free Meals, Rent Assistance & important SR & VPK info
Update on School Readiness & VPK Services for parents!
During these trying times, we want you to know that we are here to help your family with childcare needs. Although our building is closed to the public, clients can still apply for school readiness and/or VPK services on our Family Portal . All Coalition team members can still be reached by phone, at 772-595-6363 for Family Services, which covers enrollment, eligibility and childcare referral services, or 772-595-6424 for the general line, or through email, or through our social media platforms.

For more information on COVID-19 and how the State of Florida is handling this virus, visit the  Florida Department of Health  website . You can also visit our Childcare Locator on our website here to see which childcare centers are currently open. Here is the latest update from the state regarding:

Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education Program
  • If you have not used your VPK certificate for a school year program and are considering a Summer VPK program for your child, please contact the coalition. 

School Readiness (SR) Eligibility Program
  • Effective March 15, 2020 all terminations of School Readiness families’ eligibility have been suspended. Redeterminations of eligibility are extended an additional 60 days. No families shall be removed from the program.​
  • The parent waiting list revalidation notification has been extended by 60 days.​
  • As of April 1, 2020 Providers are no longer collecting parent copayments until further notice.
  • Job search can be used as a purpose for care to establish eligibility and for families applying to the waitlist through August 1, 2020.
  • Parents on the waitlist have 60 calendar days to submit the required documentation through September 30, 2020.
  • The 20 hours per week of work/education requirements for initial eligibility are suspended through August 1, 2020.
Need Rent or Mortgage assistance?
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St. Lucie County and Port St. Lucie officials are accepting applications for rent and mortgage assistance from anyone suffering an economic hardship from COVID-19.
Starting 8 a.m. Monday, Port St. Lucie residents can submit an online pre-qualification questionnaire at www.cityofpsl.com/communityservices .
 Applicants whose questionnaires are approved will be emailed a link to the official application. For help completing the online questionnaire, call 772-871-1775 or email COVIDGRANT@cityofpsl.com.


Sarah's Kitchen is still serving hot, nutritious meals from their five soup kitchens, but, instead of coming in and sitting down for fellowship and socialization, guests drive up to receive their meals and bags of food items. 
Sarah’s Kitchen provides meals at these locations:
Monday – First United Methodist Church, 260 SW Prima Vista Blvd., Port St. Lucie; 5-6:30 p.m.
Tuesday — St. Paul AME Church,1405 N 27th St., Fort Pierce; 4:30-6 p.m.
Wednesday – 1st Congregational Church, 2401 SE Sidonia St., Port St. Lucie; 5-6:30 p.m.
Thursday – 1st Bethel Baptist Church, Eleventh & Avenue D, Fort Pierce; 4:30-6 p.m.

Treasure Coast Food Bank & BOYS & GIRLS CLUB MEALS
 Volunteers are handing out free meals each evening prepared by the Treasure Coast Food Bank every day at four of the Boys & Girls Clubhouse locations from 4-7, including Ken Pruitt Unit, Chuck Hill Unit, in Port St. Lucie; and Infinity Clubhouse and Garden Terrace Clubhouse, in Fort Pierce. Distribution is by car or walk-up.
Free Meals from SLC Schools: new days
pick up multi-meal packages on Tuesdays & Thursdays
St. Lucie Public Schools Child Nutrition Services Department continues to serve free meals to children in St. Lucie County from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., now on Tuesdays and Thursdays .  The multi-day meal packages include breakfast and lunch. Breakfasts and lunches will be bagged and handed out to families in the bus loop. Parents and guardians can drive, bike, or walk to these locations.

 Children don't have to be present to receive a meal, but parents must provide one of the following forms of identification for children who are not present at a serving site: School ID (any school - SLSD-operated school, charter or private); Birth certificate/passport/religious record; Library Card; Progress Report/Report Card or Daycare record

Count Children on the Census
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Children under 5 were one of the biggest groups of under-counted people during the last census and we want to urge families to fill out the census information either online or by mail and don't forget to count the children, even babies. By responding to the 2020 census, we will get our fair share of federal funding for educational programs that benefit our children, like after-school activities, meal programs and Head Start. That's why we created this video and hope you will view it and share on your own social media:

Have Your Voice Heard! Complete the Survey Below
We need your help.
If Florida’s child care industry is going to serve you well through the remainder of this pandemic and beyond, we need a clear look at the child care landscape from your perspective. The Children's Movement of Florida has created a survey for parents of young children to share their child care experience and thoughts about what's next as Florida reopens the economy. This will help child care providers and state leaders start planning for the future to best serve you. Please click below and complete a short survey to have your voice heard!
Boys & Girls Club offers camp for school-age kids
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I ndefinite school closures. Organized sports canceled. As parents and children across the country settle into a new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic, planning for the summer is uncertain too, with the fate of many camps unknown. We are slowly opening Florida back up for business, and parents who are getting back to work, may wonder, how will their children be taken care of and engaged for the next several months. Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie Count y is partnering with the  MIDFLORIDA Event Center  and the  City of Port St. Lucie,  to start camp, which began this week.

Following strict guidelines, BGCSLC took over 28,000 sq. ft. of the MIDFLORIDA Event Center, transforming it into themed mini Clubs to ensure distancing & safety, and offer fun and educational programs to kids from kindergarten through high school. From recycling projects and sewing classes to film making and fitness, the team created an awesome curriculum! The Club is offered 5 days week from 7:30 am to 6 pm and parents can register at  www.bgcofslc.org.

The first six weeks of Boys & Girls Clubs Camp-a-Thon costs just $25 per week per child, through Federal CARE ACT funding through Seacoast Bank. Due to the partnership with the City of Port St. Lucie and many generous donors who’ve invested in Boys & Girls Club, parents can get a much-needed financial break.

Campers ages 6-18 will participate in a variety of activities and programs including Brain Gain, Arts & Crafts, music and dance while adhering to CDC COVIC-19 safety guidelines. Breakfast and lunch will be served. The goal of the Club is to offer scholarships when needed and continue to look for local donations to keep camp costs affordable for families and continue to reach more youth during this time of need. For more information, visit:  https://bgcslc.rocks/covidrelief  or call 772-460-9918.
The Office of Early Learning understands that many families are staying at home with their children to keep them safe from the COVID-19. To make sure this experience is a pleasant one, OEL offers families additional activities and resources to help support their children’s learning at home, as well as provide some activities for entertainment. Please click the gold buttons below to review the helpful activities and resources.
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NBC Nightly News - Kids Edition with Lester Holt
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, parents across the country are juggling it all while attempting to maintain routine and normalcy. NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: KIDS EDITION is a digest of the top headlines, broken down for kids to best understand the world today.
I LOVE Macaroni Kids! Here's more good stuff from our friends at the online magazine. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for the latest updates & activities! https://portstlucie.macaronikid.com/
Sincerely,
Sue-Ellen @Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County
www.elcslc.org
772-595-6424