Free Child Care Services Offered Temporarily to Camp Fire Victims

Reliable, affordable child care can be a challenge for parents under any circumstances, let alone in the aftermath of a fire that has turned their lives upside-down.

But, one group is coming together to provide a safe space for young children to learn and play while their parents rebuild.

The Camp Fire destroyed tens of thousands of buildings but it has given new life and purpose to day care buildings in Gridley.

"Because it was closed already and we felt we could provide support for the victims of the fire we thought, 'Let’s open it up, let’s call some teachers up,'" Ricky Samoyoa, director at Ecenter, said.

With just a few days notice, the Gridley day care facility for children of migrant workers is now offering free child care to people affected by the Camp Fire.

"This is specifically set up for infants, also for toddlers. So we have two separate sides," Samoyoa said.

Samoyoa runs seasonal day care facilities across eight counties.

"We opened. We worked really hard yesterday to get the activities ready, open up the environments," Samoyoa said.

The staff are licensed providers who normally are on leave October to April to align with the migrant season's off period.

Nancy Becares was working as a substitute teacher in her hometown when she got the call.

Becares now drives about an hour to make herself available to take care of the young Camp Fire victims. She says that while she and her colleagues are trained to work with children who have experienced trauma, she thinks even just a safe space will benefit them.

"Even if it’s like an hour or two that they come, or the whole day, just to make their days better, just to forget the whole situation," Becares said.

This opportunity also gives parents a chance to handle the many things on their plate.

This project has been funded by North Valley Community Foundation. To apply for a space at the Gridley eCenter facility, click HERE.

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