Smart Start Rowan delivers message of thanks

Published 12:05 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

Saying thank you was the message that Smart Start Rowan wanted to share with childcare providers during Child Care Provider Appreciation Week.

Thanks to a grant, the organization was able to deliver 482 Chick-Fil-A box lunches on May 10 to licensed childcare provider facilities in Rowan County.

Meals were prepared and packed for delivery by Chick-Fil-A employees, with Smart Start staff distributing them to the various facilities.

Bo Hawkins, the manager at the East Innes Street Chick-Fil-A, said this was probably the fourth or fifth year they had partnered with Smart Start in this program and said they are “just trying to do all we can to make this a smooth operation.”

Hawkins said this is a great program, and “we’re trying to help them bless the community. It is our pleasure to be a part of this.”

In speaking about the opportunity to help, Denise Heinke, Smart Start Rowan’s director of outreach and development, said, “we were able to do this with a grant made possible from Novant Health. It is our way of honoring the providers and the hard work they do everyday. Bringing them lunches in person is just a little extra way to see them, give them a hug, and let them know that what they do as a profession is often not acknowledged nearly enough and we are grateful for their passion to work with children.”

The response from those who received the meals was likewise one of thanks.

St. John’s Child Development Center on West Innes Street was one of the licensed facilities to be treated to meals for their 31 teachers. When asked what it meant to them, leadership at the facility expressed their thanks for the kind gesture.

“It’s wonderful,” said Lea Anne Thomas, director at the center. “Childcare is underfunded, so for Smart Start Rowan to provide our teachers with a nice treat, a nice lunch, means the world to them and it means the world to us with their support.”

Kristy King, the center’s program coordinator, said that receiving the meals meant a lot “because these teachers here at St. John’s CDC work so hard and so diligently every day and bring that love and passion for those children, so we want to be able to give that back to them, especially during this week to show them how much we care about them and we praise them for all their hard work that they do with these children.”