Boca Raton, FL — Fuller Center, a not-for-profit organization focused on empowering children and families through education and family support, is facing a serious challenge hitting both average Americans and childcare centers especially hard.
“The cost of the Center’s food and supplies that keep our facilities going has spiked by over $15,000 a month,” said Ellyn Okrent, CEO of the Fuller Center. “The cost of fuel for the buses that transport our children to field trips and to our afterschool programs has increased by more than $2,000 a month. How could any nonprofit childcare center budget for such unusual circumstances?”
News reports have shown that inflation and supply shortages have impacted nearly everyone, from consumers to businesses. However, unlike a for-profit business where increased costs are often passed along to the consumer, the 600 families that depend on Fuller Center, who are essential workers keeping local businesses and economy open,are already stretched to their limits. Putting additional costs on them is simply not an option.
Fuller Center serves over 1,000 meals and snacks a day to over 700 children – often the only wholesome and nourishing meals they get. During the school year, Fuller buses pick up more than 200 children from 12 local elementary schools so that parents can work while having peace of mind knowing their children are being fed and tutored in an enriching environment. Over the summer, Fuller Center buses are on the road every day taking the children to field trips they would otherwise not have access to.
“With food and fuel costs skyrocketing, these essential services risk being reduced – in other words, children in our community may go hungry, and many may have nowhere safe and supervised to go after school,” said Okrent. “For already low-income families, the sticker shock is severe. Basic needs like groceries, healthcare, and shelter are going unmet. These unmet needs are linked to higher rates of mental health problems for children in their most critical developmental stages. Their experiences now – like constant hunger and the toxic stress and risks of growing up in poverty – can have profound and lasting effects that often result in anxiety, depression, emotional/behavioral difficulties, and more, well into adulthood.”
For more information about the Fuller Center and ways to support the children, faculty, and staff, please email Gabrielle Aleksinko, Executive Administrator, at [email protected].
About the Fuller Center
For more than 50 years, the Fuller Center’s mission has been to embrace, educate, and empower hardworking, under-resourced families and children to reach their full potential. We build a positive future through education for the more than 900 children (infants through teens) that we serve annually, as well as 600 family members. The Fuller Center reaches families in 20 zip codes throughout Palm Beach County, as well as North Broward County.
Almost all Fuller Center working parents – 92% – serve as essential or frontline workers, working in hospitals, retail outlets, restaurants, and hotels. They are our bus drivers, store clerks and cashiers, farmworkers, delivery drivers, security guards, bank tellers, office workers, healthcare workers, and home health aides, hospital orderlies and cafeteria workers, and childcare and eldercare workers.
Our programs help empower children to start school prepared, succeed academically, and break the generational cycle of poverty through quality early childhood education, after-school and summer camp programs, our new private elementary school and teen leadership programs, and comprehensive, family-centered support services. They also empower parents who are essential to keeping our local economy open and who provide the vital services we all count on.
The Fuller Center also offers mentoring programs and adult on-the-job training, coaching, and employment support, and no-cost transportation from 12 area schools to our campus-based after-school programs. We serve more than 1,800 nutritious meals and snacks daily.
In addition, Fuller Center provides opportunities for local colleges and universities to place undergraduate and graduate students in internships and child development practicums.
East Campus: 200 N.E. 14th Street, Boca Raton
West Campus: 10130 185th Street South, Boca Raton