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A delivery service for most-needed basic necessities

Coordinated delivery of community-identified basic household goods for families with young children

Photo of Alison Harman
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I am a.....

  • Collective impact initiative

Tell us about your idea

How might we coordinate delivery of most-needed basic necessities to families with young children – particularly for communities of color, immigrant communities and low-income families, who are disproportionately impacted by the economic and health effects of the pandemic?

In response to Covid-19, our county – like most others – closed schools, child care centers and local businesses to prevent the spread of the virus. Unemployment across the state increased by almost 15%, and total earnings for small business employees in our community shrunk by 56%. Interviews with families of young children, teachers, social workers and field experts serving communities indicate increased stress and anxiety, particularly for communities of color and low-income communities: caregivers are overwhelmed and feel unequipped to support learning at home; families are struggling to get to stores for basic household goods due to pre-existing transportation barriers, and when they do get to stores many items – including WIC-approved items – are already sold out; families do not have the time or ability to go to multiple stores to find what they need; money is already limited, and families are struggling to pay rent and buy food; families are at increased risk for violence and abuse; and the existing stressors around food, rent and employment are exacerbated.

In response, a cross-sector community team designed a strategy aimed at providing just-in-time access to valuable basic necessities for families with young children in two elementary school attendance zones. They are gathering community voice to understand what necessities families value the most and are in greatest need of with the question: if you had $100 to spend right now, what would you buy? After hearing from families, they will partner with local community-based organizations to deliver these valuable resources to families. This service will complement existing food delivery services and local initiatives that provide diapers and formula, and work to ensure everything a family needs is all in one place to limit the amount of travel a family will need to do.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

This team wants to leave behind the idea that learning starts at school, and that we as a community don’t have the ability to improve the system of supports for families and young children. We want to leave behind the idea that children’s learning happens in a vacuum, and that the structural inequality that increases family stress for families of color and immigrant families does not impact learning.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

This is a cross-sector team that includes early learning experts, a health system representative, a Head Start manager and a Social Services representative. This team is part of Alamance Achieves, a collective impact initiative in Alamance County, NC that aims to improve education and health outcomes from cradle to career, and is part of a larger collaborative network specifically focusing on reducing barriers to kindergarten readiness for students in two elementary school zones.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Alamance County, North Carolina

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Gilberto Cardenas

Hello Alison Harman,
Your idea addresses a big issue in our current circumstance that is not talked about in the media. If I had $100 dollars right now, I would definately buy food and items for my daughter. As a parent, I am always looking for services to relive some of the burdens that have been placed on me, your idea would help out a lot.