Giving grain to help grow the future
The Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership is partnering with Farmers’ Cooperative to launch Kernels for Kids – A program which will seek to engage local farmers in Seward County and surrounding areas to generously support childcare service providers through the donation of their harvested grains.
Seward County is in great need of additional childcare capacity. In collaboration with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and their Communities for Kids initiative, SCCDP has documented Seward County’s childcare service gap to be approximately 189 children, surpassing the county’s current licensed capacity by 31 percent. These 189 children, ages zero to five, have no available spot for them in our existing licensed facilities in the county. Our providers are either at capacity or do not have the workforce necessary to serve more families. According to the Center for American Progress, Seward County is classified as a “child care desert” (https://www.americanprogress.org/series/child-care-deserts/). Without childcare, small towns across Nebraska are finding it difficult to attract new people, especially young people, to their communities. Seward County needs these individuals to fill local jobs and support our businesses.
Through hard work and generosity of various statewide partners, approximately $2 million in grants have been secured locally which we anticipate will help build three new childcare centers in Seward County by the end of 2023 (which will provide over 200+ new available childcare spots). These grant funds will also invest in existing providers to continue offering quality care and expand their ability to serve more children if they desire to do so. Our current funding gap to open up these three new centers is over $1 million in addition to the funding needs for quality improvements to support existing providers.
SCCDP and Farmers’ Cooperative are working together on the Kernels for Kids project to help close this funding gap. Those in the agriculture community can choose to donate their grain profits to the Kernels for Kids program and through that generosity help to ensure that new and existing childcare providers can make improvements that foster growth and development for the children receiving care.