About thirty-five years ago a group of dual-working parents whose half-day kindergarteners had no childcare for the other half of the day established the Haddonfield Child Care (HCC) or Early Development Kindergarten Program (EDKP). They provided both supplemental education for kindergarten children in the program as well as before and after school childcare in the various Haddonfield schools. For the last seven years the HCC has called Our Savior their home as we’ve provided both the classrooms for the children and teachers as well as the administrative office space for this community need. Sadly, with the Haddonfield School Board choosing a different company to provide the before/after school care program and Covid-19 forcing virtual education for the 2020-21 school year the HCC Board voted to close rather than suspend their services until the pandemic was past.
However, while the Coronavirus may have shut the door on the HCC the Holy Spirit may be opening a window of opportunity for Our Savior to take up the torch of providing kindergarten wrap-around childcare as well as summer camp childcare for dual-working parents for not only Haddonfield, but our neighbors in Haddon Township and Haddon Heights.
The Congregation Council has begun exploring what would be involved for The Lutheran Church of Our Savior to take over this “ministry” to the local community beginning in the 2021-2022 school year if not by the summer of 2021 by providing various childcare camps. This childcare ministry would have two objectives:
• Provide a wrap-around childcare for up to 40 kindergarten children per session during the school year.
• Provide childcare camps during school holidays and summer months when childcare options are desperately needed.
Pastor Wayne and the Council both believe this is a community need Our Savior is already equipped to address since we’ve been providing the facility for its operation for nearly a decade. Director Donna Marie Clancy has already agreed and is eager to facilitate the transition as she has raised the quality of this program over the last three years serving as its director and knows there is more we can do. A Steering Committee will need to be formed to begin addressing the various questions and tasks necessary in transitioning from the stellar program provided by HCC under Ms. Clancy’s leadership to one that melds our current ministry with this expanded and much needed one in our community.
A proposal will be made at the January Annual Meeting for the congregation to vote on and we hope the congregation’s support, questions, and concerns are raised throughout the process. While Our Savior is still in the exploratory stages of this proposal it is the intent that the Childcare Program not be an additional financial expense to the General Fund, but will operate with complete self-sufficiency.
If you would like to know more about this ministry opportunity and/or volunteer to help determine its viability and/or serve on the Steering Committee please contact Pastor Wayne. We know some of our members have been served by the HCC in the past and even served on its Board. We hope you might consider volunteering again. Until then please pray for those who will be gathering information and discerning what is best to serve the needs of those in our community with a childcare ministry that has been a blessing to many in the past.