ABC Means TLC, for Young Families

ECF grant helps ABC Head Start meet increasing demand from young families for food and supplies during pandemic

Isolated at home due to COVID-19, Lara Siringan has been treated as family by ABC Head Start and Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF).

Siringan is a local mother who provides and cares for two young children by herself. When daycares shut down due to the global pandemic, she had to stop working to look after her children full-time.

“It’s really hard because I’m a single mom with two kids. The daycares are closed. I have no family here. In my situation it felt like my employer didn’t understand me,” Siringan says.

ABC Head Start, a registered charity for more than 30 years, works to support young families in Edmonton. Since the pandemic hit, demand for supplies and outreach has skyrocketed. ABC was stretched to the limit supplying diapers, formula, and groceries for families that were unable to provide for themselves. Beyond physical supplies, ABC also makes an impact by simply communicating and reaching out to families in isolation.

“Communication is important. I don’t have someone to talk to, to be there for me. We’re only three in the house here, and we’re not going outside,” says Siringan.

Thankfully, in April, ABC received a grant from ECF that allowed them to purchase additional supplies and finally meet demand. Volunteers deliver the supplies and groceries where necessary. They also make phone calls to parents and children to ensure their wellbeing during isolation.

“Families are being affected by the pandemic in numerous ways,” says Craig Stumpf-Allen, ECF’s Director of Grants and Community Engagement. “ABC Head Start is positioned to help address many of those needs at once, which is why they are such a great fit for our COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund.”

ECF seeded the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund (RRF) on March 25 with $500,000 of its discretionary dollars. Since then, the RRF has exceeded a million dollars to allocate to Edmonton’s charitable organizations, thanks to contributions from donors and the wider community. To date, ECF has provided a combined total of $1.2 million from various granting streams to support Edmonton’s charitable sector through the pandemic.

ABC has been able to make a real impact in Edmonton during the pandemic, thanks to hard work from its staff and volunteers. When they needed the extra funding, ECF was there to assist. This means that families like Siringan’s are supported when they need it most. She received a gift card for groceries and gets phone calls from ABC many times a week.

“I’m very thankful and happy that ABC is always contacting me, and that they helped me with groceries,” says Siringan. “We feel like we’re family with them, since they’re always checking in and making sure we’re OK. It helps me a lot in this situation.”

Learn more about ECF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.