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Playtime's Response to COVID-19

Executive Director Jamila Larson (left) and Board Member Patience Peabody deliver supplies at the Quality Inn overflow shelter

As D.C. shut down schools and businesses in response to COVID-19, Playtime made the tough decision to close programs temporarily, beginning March 16, at our four partner shelter sites. We are closely monitoring the situation, and assessing how to continue to provide play and family support this fall. The health and safety of our children and families, as well as our volunteers and staff, are our highest priority.

During this time, Playtime’s office is also closed, and the staff is working remotely. We are not able to accept in-kind donations or deliveries at the office for now, but we are accepting mail.

Empower Poster

Art created by one of our preteens, who used the Empower Poster craft project in a Playtime to Go kit.

Every three weeks, Playtime is distributing Playtime to Go kits to more than 125 children living in our four partner shelter sites; the kits include reusable toys, books, art activities, and more. Parents also receive a "Parent Survival Guide" with online resources and activities that can be done in their rooms with few or no materials. We also provide families with emergency supplies, including gift cards for food support, diapers, and wipes, as well as emergency referrals for online services, as needed. Staff and volunteers have created Virtual Playtime by posting videos of guided play and read-alongs on our YouTube channel. In addition, staff frequently checks in with families to assess their immediate needs and challenges, so we can best advocate with D.C. government, community partners, and shelter providers. 

 

We were thrilled to hear from one mom who has been homeschooling her three-year-old son—he didn't get the chance to start preschool before schools shut down. She has been using the materials we send and says he's getting really good at writing his ABCs and sounding out the letters.

Thank you to all whose generous gifts provide play kits for families living in isolation. You help create learning and play equity for children experiencing homelessness in our nation's capital.

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