Created: October 15, 2020 10:06 AM
HUDSON FALLS -- At Head Start in Washington County, all the things for little hands are spaced out and cleaned. The classrooms are at half capacity, but all the young students are served.
Head Start shut down when the schools did, but if the children couldn't come in, the staff went to them, delivering the meals they would have gotten here, plus about 15,000 diapers. They also made five thousand masks.
These days, about 140 students are in classrooms, and about 100 are remote.
Head Start is for children younger than kindergarten, at a critical time.
"Everything is multiplying in that little brain of theirs at top speed," said L.E.A.P. Executive Director Traci Ross. "So the more stimulation they have, the more they learn now, makes it easier for them to learn as kindergartners."
There are Head Start programs in five locations in Washington County: in Hudson Falls, as well as Granville, Whitehall, and Cambridge.
But L.E.A.P. does a lot more, providing rides to seniors for crucial medical appointments. It's a service that didn't stop during the pandemic.
The need has gone up for the food pantry, which now delivers.
"We realized that we have a huge population in Washington County that doesn't have access to transportation. So when we realized that was the case, we started to deliver three days of food to those families that were in need throughout Washington County and we're continuing that service throughout this time period," said Ross.
L.E.A.P. is also seeing more people go through its employment center these days.
At Head Start, they love hearing the shouts and laughter back on the playground.
"The kids are happy to be back," said Ross. "They're happy to be with their friends and they miss their teachers. Our teachers are wearing masks and face shields to protect themselves and the other children."
Food delivery for children in Head Start began during the shutdown, and it continues now for students who are remote.
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