Childcare facilities closing doors amid coronavirus outbreak, leave local parents struggling to work

Posted at 5:03 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 18:20:20-04

The ongoing list of closures in the Tampa Bay area is getting longer. Now, it’s leaving parents struggling to find childcare, and unsure of how they will feed their children who would typically be fed at school.

“It’s beyond a hurdle or a challenge, this is just devastating. You have no time to prepare for this,” said Jessica McBride, a local mom struggling to find childcare.

Local school districts announce plans to feed students during closure

Jessica McBride does appointment setting for a local mom and pop print shop in Pinellas County. Typically she’s in office, but after learning her daughter’s daycare provider would be closing their doors amidst the coronavirus outbreak, she started working from home.

“I have my 3-year-old, not conducive to a productive work environment at all,” said McBride.


But finding childcare elsewhere isn’t conducive to her paycheck.

“I’m already paycheck to paycheck, I’m a single parent, so I’m a thousand miles away from home,” said McBride.

And it isn’t just childcare she’s worried about. Jessica is now working to come up with extra money to feed her daughter the meals previously provided at daycare.

Luckily for her and the thousands of other families in her situation, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is working together with state school districts to provide meals for children under 18.

“A lot of people really depend on us, so for the time that they would have depended on us to feed their children, in the school, we’re gonna feed them as a drive-by, sort of a go-through, grab-and-go,” said Steve Hegarty, Public Information Officer for Pasco County School District.

There are dozens of locations across the Tampa Bay area where children can pick up these meals, you can find a list of those locations by visiting or by clicking here.