Williamsburg restaurant helps daycare stay afloat during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 9:19 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 12:23:20-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted childcare. A Williamsburg restaurant is helping a local daycare keep their doors open to help families with essential workers.

“It goes beyond business,” parent Janet Cortez said. “It just comes down to good people.”

For Cortez, she relies on the LeaRN Lily Child Development Center.

“My husband's in the military, and I'm also a nurse,” she said. “Not having any help in the immediate area, having a dependable daycare is a huge deal for us.”

According to the daycare's staff, they serve all children, including those with special needs. A majority of children at the daycare have parents who are essential workers.

Judy Bradby, the daycare’s director and owner, tells News 3 they ran into a big issue quickly recently. She said their caterer closed during the pandemic.

“A lot of our children, that's their main meal of the day,” Bradby said. “Ultimately, we may have had to have close. Ten people would've been without a job; 25 children would've been without daycare. Essential workers would've had nowhere to take their children.”

For Bradby, one thing was on her mind.

“I have a problem, I have to fix it,” she said.

She came to Food for Thought, a local restaurant feeling the impacts from the pandemic, that pitched in to help. During the past two months, the restaurant has made dozens of meals for the daycare.

“It was just the right thing to do,” Food for Thought Kitchen Manager Alfred Simmons said. “Those people are out there in the middle of this pandemic battling, and we're helping their children get a good meal every day.”

Both Bradby and Simmons said the move shows a community coming together.

Related: COVID-19 pandemic impacting Hampton Roads child care programs

“If we pull together and stay positive, we can get through this,” Bradby said.

Food for thought - going beyond what comes from the restaurant’s kitchen.

“Do the right thing, find where you can help and serve where you can serve,” Simmons said.

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