Oakland CARES Act: Food Scarcity, Childcare, COVID Education

$550,000 of CARES Act funding allocated to a variety of Oakland Parks, Recreation & Youth Development (OPRYD) direct community service programs aiding with childcare, education, food scarcity, and COVID safety, education and outreach.

Posted: February 4th, 2021 2:20 PM

Last Updated: March 23rd, 2021 1:08 PM

Program Overview

Responding to food security needs, and for the safe operation of childcare services for the Oakland community, OPRYD utilized CARES Act funding to retrofit and make upgrades to 23 recreation centers to enhance food storage and distribution areas to support food and meal services. Funding was also used to purchase sanitization and cleaning equipment and supplies, as well as materials to allow for safe, social distanced childcare and Learning Hub programs.

One in six children in the U.S. does not know where their next meal is coming from. The pandemic exasperated the food scarcity crisis bringing light to the deep need of the community. Purchase of refrigerator and freezer units supported OPRYD’s service of over 24,000 meals to Oakland families and distribution of thousands of pounds of groceries and fresh produce.

OPRYD held in-person childcare programs at 19 recreation centers from June through November 2020 providing 1,992 youth enriching activities and parents a total of 30,894 days of childcare services. Three sites specialized as Learning Hubs offering full-day programs for newcomer students. Learning Hubs provided internet connection, laptops and homework assistance. All programs offered safe, healthy and engaging activities for youth ages 5 – 12 and included physical fitness, sports, and self-expression and socialization opportunities through art, science, cooking, and play.

Childcare Recipient Demographics

Pie Chart of Childcare by Race

Childcare by Race/Ethnicity

Bar graph of Childcare by Zip Code

Childcare by Zip Code

Park Ambassador Program

The Park Ambassador program hosted by OPRYD was funded by CARES Act allocation. Acting as community ambassadors, OPRYD staff roved high use park areas distributing masks and hand sanitizer while sharing information and resources on how to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Taking place from August to October 2020 and in response to a spike in COVID positive testing statistics, Park Ambassadors engaged with community members to promote COVID safe behavior and educate on activities allowed under current County Health Order. By utilizing non-threating, friendly engagement technics which involved handing out masks, hand sanitizer, water and snacks, Park Ambassadors were able to accomplish nearly 2,000 hours of engagement with very little incident.

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