In all, 26 local providers will get $670,316

WHATCOM ­— Twenty-six childcare providers in the county will receive grants totalling $670,316 as a boost of stability for working families coping with COVID-19.

By far, the biggest recipient of cash from the Whatcom ReStart grant program, a countywide collaboration, is Whatcom Family YMCA, $295,221 to operate at multiple locations.

The next two largest recipients are the MORE Smiles Learning Center, $50,000, and the Semiahmoo Kids Kamp, $25,000. Both are located in Blaine.

The original source of the childcare grants is federal CARES Act funds allocated to Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham. Those two governments pooled resources for the Whatcom ReStart program. CARES Act funding is intended to reimburse the cost of business interruptions caused by reduced operational size, temporary closures, or stay-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am pleased to see how our different jurisdictions and partners have come together to find working solutions. Through collaboration and pooling of resources, we are maximizing the impact of our modest tools and means, which benefits both the providers and the families they serve. I hope that this experience will serve as a model for future cooperation,” said Satpal Sidhu, Whatcom County Executive.

The County Executive’s office announced the grants on Aug. 31.

No providers are listed as based in Lynden. However, the Lynden School District has announced that it will be providing needed daycare to K-5 students in partnership with Whatcom Family YMCA, using Fisher Elementary School and starting Sept. 14.

More details can be found and registration can be made at: https://www.whatcomymca.org/ys-kids. With any questions about the YMCA childcare program, contact Shannon Millican at smillican@whatcomymca.org.

The daycares in Ferndale that received funding, all of less than 50 spots, are: Little Angels Daycare Preschool, $10,000; Olive Diaz Childcare, $10,000; TLC Daycare, $10,000; and Leah’s Place Childcare, $3,000.

In Deming the Bell Creek Outdoor Learning Center will receive $8,000.

Happy Hearts Child Care, which has locations in Sumas and Everson, will get $12,000.

Application review committees were staffed by knowledgeable community members and professionals from the City of Bellingham, Opportunity Council, Whatcom County Health Department and Mount Baker Foundation. The applications were scored on three criteria:  social/demographic factors, enrollment data, and financial information.