SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Senator Ed Markey came through Western Massachusetts Wednesday with his first stop at the YMCA of Greater Springfield.
The YMCA saw a significant reduction in the number of children in their programs during the pandemic, since many of the parents became furloughed and unemployed. Senator Ed Markey toured the YMCA’s child care center inside Tower Square and later read a story to a group of kids.
Markey spoke with their President and CEO Dexter Johnson on how far they’ve come since the pandemic started, as well as the importance of giving families childcare so the parents can get back to working again.
“Right now, we still do have a lot of families that haven’t returned yet because they haven’t gone back to work yet. So it’ll be crucial for the economy to get back going and we will be here to provide the service when you’re ready,” said Johnson.
Johnson said they went from 1,000 children before the pandemic, to 250. They are back up to 400 kids, and are hoping to get back close to that 1,000 number.
Johnson said it would have been very hard to stay afloat the last year without the employer retention tax credit and PPP loans. For Markey, supporting child care programs like the YMCA need to be a priority going forward.