TECO Energy and Peoples Gas presents a $25,000 donation towards COVID-19 for childcare providers. (L-R) County Commissioner - District 1 Sandra Murman; VP of TECO Peoples Gas Luke Buzard, CPA, CIA; ELCHC Chief Executive Officer Gordon Gillette; and ELCHC Chairman Aakash Patel.

The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County (ELCHC) established a COVID-19 relief supply drive that will run until Wednesday, July 22. More than 700 local childcare providers experiencing devastating losses and mounting costs due to the pandemic will benefit from this drive.

Providers were surveyed by the ELCHC’s board of directors to gain a better insight on the items they needed. Items such as masks, gloves, thermometers, paper goods and sanitizing supplies reached the top of the list.

TECO Energy and TECO Peoples Gas donated $25,000, which will go towards purchasing infrared medical-grade thermometers for the COVID-19 program.

Vice President of TECO Peoples Gas Luke Buzard, CPA, CIA, stated his thoughts in regards to the donation.

“TECO Peoples Gas has been a longtime supporter of education and more specifically early learning,” Buzard said. “There is no better time for our organization to extend our commitment to the community than during this pandemic.”

As a 501(c)(3) organization, the ELCHC specializes in the funding and delivery of quality in education, after-school programs, early childhood care and services to people in Hillsborough County. This includes the administering of VPK (Voluntary Prekindergarten) and School Readiness programs.

“It is our responsibility to help childcare providers throughout the year, but our board felt it especially important to assist educators who are now experiencing challenges as a result of COVID-19,” said Chief Executive Officer of ELCHC Gordon Gillette.

Robin Dean, owner of Nana’s Learning Post in Valrico, expressed how cleaning supplies can be hard to find.

“These donations will be very resourceful to Nana’s Learning Post and other childcare providers so we can maintain that cleanliness,” Dean said.

Beginning in early August, the supplies will be distributed to childcare centers. Those interested in making a monetary contribution can visit https://www.elchc.org/donate/.

For more information on ELCHC, visit https://www.elchc.org or check out its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/elchc.org. The coalition is located at 6302 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Ste. 100 in Tampa. Call 515-2340.

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Tatiana Ortiz
Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.