While the Scottish Christmas Parade is cancelled this year, President and CEO of The Campagna Center Tammy Mann said the non-profit’s early childhood programs that rely on the fundraising this weekend are no less in demand.
Usually, The Campagna Center hosts a holiday store, where families can come into the building and an entire floor is dedicated to giving low-income families a positive holiday shopping experience. This year, The Campagna Center is planning an alternative drive-through program on Saturday for families in the program.
“Given health challenge, not going to be able to set it up that way,” Mann said. “We have about 400 families that we’re going to be providing books, grocery gift cards, and stocking stuffers for children. We’re grateful that we’re able to do it, and I know our families have been incredibly responsive to the many ways we’ve adapted and been able to get things to them during this period… But obviously if we could have that experience, that would be what you would want, so parents could choose the things they want.”
Mann said instead of allowing children to pick their own gifts, The Campagna Center staff packaged toys for children.
Mann also said the Scottish Christmas Parade is one of the most high-visible events for The Campagna Center, and she’s worried future programs won’t have the kind of fundraising and support the parade. Weekend events hosted around the Scottish Christmas Parade generally bring in around $250,000 for The Campagna Center.
“While parade is not happening, needs we have to address since pandemic began go on,” Mann said. “We are definitely wanting people to be aware of the cause behind it and find ways to contribute and support the work.”
That funding goes to support programs like one that provides an in-person learning space for children K-5 if their parents are not able to work from home. The in-person learning program has been in operation at two sites since classes started this summer.
Mann said the program has already been more expensive than it usually is because of the added cost of PPE and COVID testing for staff.
“The cost of taking all of that on has been something where we had to get creative on raising funds to support,” Mann said. “Parents are not evenly sharing in that because it’s a sliding payscale based on income.”
As Mann looks to the next year, she said it’s difficult to plan what comes next with the situation being as uncertain as it is.
“The need for after care services will continue to exist,” Mann said, “[but it’s] hard to predict what that will look and feel like. “
Right now, Mann said her focus is on adapting to changing plans for school structure. The Campagna Center also continues to operate an emergency diaper bank for families and offering tutoring services.
“There are a number of outreach efforts underway in December that, as families move into the holidays, there are things they won’t have to worry about or figure out how to make happen,” Mann said. “We appreciate all that folk have done in the city.”
Photo via The Campagna Center/Facebook