JAMESTOWN – A county-wide parade celebrating front line childcare workers is taking place in Chautauqua County.
The parade kicked off Friday morning in Jamestown with participants driving by the YWCA Child Care Center Downtown.
Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center Executive Director Beth Starks says that the parade will cover all corners of the county driving by childcare centers.
“We are literally driving by every single licensed childcare provider in the county,” explained Starks. “We started in Jamestown this morning. We are proceeding throughout Jamestown, and then we will go along the lake to Dewittville and to Mayville around noon, and then we will head to Westfield, Brocton, Fredonia and Dunkirk.”
“We plan to be out in Irving by 3 p.m. and then we will end the parade in Cassadaga for the day.”
Starks says without access to high-quality care, parents cannot work. For essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Starks says childcare is especially essential.
Additionally, many of the childcare centers are small businesses that are now operating in a deficit as they help those who can not afford care during the COVID-19 outbreak. Local childcare leaders are now hoping to work with government agencies to help bring relief to those in need.
“These childcare providers have been providing care at a fiscal loss of almost $2.5 million in Chautauqua County alone,” explained Susan Marker, the Child Care Council Director in Chautauqua County. “We have to look at that and make sure we make them strong again before we reopen.”
The parade was held in place of an annual dinner celebrating Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.