KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Last night, leaders of the WVEA, AFT-WV and WVSSPA announced a statewide teacher strike for today, February 19th, 2019, which left many parents throughout the state without child care.
With only hours to prepare, counties quickly scrambled to organize various work stoppage programs to care for children during the strike.
Out of hundreds of programs and facilities opening their doors for children, the First United Methodist Church in South Charleston, WV has been running its program for the last 11 years in helping parents through situations a like.
One Kanawha County Educator, Sara Hampton is the one who first organized this program to provide parents in the area ease when it came to school closings.
“In the midst of all this, it’s just nice to be able to do something. I’m torn, I’d like to be at the capitol, but on the other hand I’m very thankful that I can be doing what I love which is being with the children of West Virginia,” said Hampton.
Hampton said she wasn’t expecting the call from the school board last night, but knew it would take little planning to get everything into place.
“The way to make the best of it is to just take care of each other in the best way they can with the resources you have, so even though this situation is definitley far from ideal, this is what I can do to still make it okay for some families in the community,” said Hampton.
Kanawha County Schools notified parents last night that school would be closed today. One parent who is a recent West Virginia transplant from Florida said she was told that school was cancelled during dinner.
Parent, Jessica Reeves said, “first thing I did was start scrolling around on Facebook, got the news and found they had the First United Methodist Church, so just bring them right down the road.”
Reeves said she was surprised with the amount of help available given such short notice.
“It’s amazing, just the community coming together, seeing that there are places to bring the kids so we can at least go to work and on a night where you find out in the evening, you got to figure it out quickly,” said Reeves.
Hampton has been an educator within Kanawha County for 18 years – this being her second teachers’ strike. She said it’s not easy to go through but you just have to take it day by day, hour by hour.
Depending on the circumstances, programs like First United can be costly in terms of providing meals for children.
They openly accept money and food donations, as well as gently-used toys. If you would like to help, call the church at (304) 744-3211.