Child Holding up a Thank You Card

The YMCA of Central Florida Provides Free Emergency Childcare for Essential Workers

ORLANDO, Fla. – (April 20, 2020)
The YMCA of Central Florida has repurposed two of its temporarily closed facilities to offer emergency childcare at no cost serving first responders, frontline health care workers, and essential workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Downtown Orlando and Winter Park YMCA Family Centers will be offering these services beginning Monday, April 20, 2020.

The Y’s emergency childcare will be offered for 13 hours a day, 6:15 am – 7:30 pm, Monday through Friday for school-age children ages 5–13 while these Y locations remain closed. Children will enjoy a mix of educational and fun activities throughout the day under the careful and caring watch of trained Y staff who traditionally work in the Y’s childcare and camp programs.

AdventHealth has worked diligently since the start of COVID-19 to meet the childcare needs of our dedicated team members at a time when they need help most. We are grateful to the YMCA for providing a safe and nurturing place for the children of our nurses, doctors and other frontline team members at no cost so they can focus on fighting the coronavirus and delivering extraordinary care to our community.
—Sheryl Dodds, Chief People Officer for AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division

To keep kids and Y staff safe, social distancing and maximum group size guidelines will be adhered to, as well as CDC safety and cleaning precautions at the facilities. In addition, CDC protocols and special consideration will be given to health screening of all children and staff at check-in and throughout the day.

We are extremely pleased to offer this service to help support our team members during this very challenging time. Orlando Health team members who are working on the front lines caring for COVID-19 patients will have one less thing to worry about knowing their children are being cared for by the well-respected and well-trained providers at the YMCA of Central Florida.
—Karen Frenier, Vice President, Human Resources, Orlando Health

The cost to run the program at these two locations is being covered through a generous gift from Florida Blue and support from the YMCA of Central Florida members and donors. Families are responsible for providing meals and snacks, but the Y is also coordinating with two longstanding community partners, PepsiCo and Sysco, to provide healthy snacks and beverages at no cost for the children or their families.

“At the Y, we know that we’re stronger together. So, it is a privilege for us to do our part by offering our Y facilities and talented staff to serve the children of those who are serving us all,” said President & CEO of the YMCA of Central Florida Dan Wilcox. “We’re grateful to Florida Blue, PepsiCo, Sysco, and all of our Y members and donors who are standing with us to help meet this vital community need.”

The health and well-being of our communities is our top priority right now. We are grateful for the health care workers, emergency responders and other essential staff who are on the front lines combating COVID-19. We commend the YMCA for providing vital members of our community with a safe and supportive location for their children while they are fulfilling critical work to keep our communities healthy.
—Tony Jenkins, Florida Blue Market President

Essential service workers as defined by Executive Order 20-91 are eligible. Availability is limited to 45 children per day at each facility, and completed advance registrations are required. Participants must register online. Additional Y locations are being considered based on evolving community needs and necessary philanthropic funding to provide this ongoing support.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the YMCA relies on support from neighbors and community partners just as the community relies on the Y. Additional donations are needed during this critical time in order to continue assisting families long-term with emergency childcare. For more information on supporting the Y, contact Claire Fournier, Vice President of Philanthropy for the YMCA of Central Florida, at [email protected].

About the YMCA of Central Florida

The YMCA of Central Florida is one of the area’s largest nonprofits, serving hundreds of thousands of Central Floridians per year through a focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility. With a Christian-based mission to improve lives and communities, it operates YMCA locations across six counties. This mission is expanded beyond the four walls of the Y through community-based programs to combat chronic disease, boost children’s after-school safety and learning, and strengthen neighborhoods. To learn more, visit and follow on Facebook or Instagram.