Editor's Note: Seventh in a nine-part series, publishing on Thursdays about nonprofit organizations and agencies which benefit from the annual Groceries for Good campaign. The 2019 Groceries for Good food drive will be held Nov. 23.
By KELLY FARRELL
Paducah Day Nursery is a community institution dating back more than a century and benefits from local support in its work to provide quality child care.
From 6-week-old babies to school-aged youth, the nonprofit child care facility serves around 200 children per year and there is a waiting list to enroll, said executive director Deana May. The children are grouped into different classrooms by their age and take part in various activities with staff members.
"They receive all our services. There are three meals a day and a snack. We're a five-star-rated center," she said, as the center participates in the Kentucky All STARS quality rating and improvement system.
May, executive director for seven years, enjoys working with children and said she feels pride in helping to provide quality childcare services.
"I just think all the teachers here love and nurture," she said.
First organized in 1911 and incorporated five years later, Paducah Day Nursery's mission is to provide high quality and affordable child care to parents of young children. It has 26 employees, including May, and many of its teachers are college educated in early childhood programs or attending school to earn their degree.
"We're able to go above and beyond just basic care," said morning supervisor Rachel Kelley, who is a longtime employee.
Kelley explained that staff members study a variety of early childhood issues, such as the brain and how it works, behavior and development, why children act the way they do and coping strategies, along with nutrition and its importance for children's education and development.
Paducah Day Nursery runs with a $660,000 operating budget and receives state funding, along with financial support from several community donors. May said those donors include the United Way of Paducah-McCracken County, the Ray & Kay Eckstein Charitable Trust, Kiwanis Club and others. It's one of United Way's partner agencies.
The nursery also receives some assistance from the annual Groceries for Good campaign, which is sponsored by the Paducah Sun and the Metropolis Planet. These contributions are "extremely helpful" for the nursery, and May expressed gratitude for the community's donations.
The food drive campaign helps collect different items for the nursery -- mainly diapers -- but also baby wipes, baby shampoo and more, May said. The nursery uses these donations throughout each year to help parents in need, as diaper expenses can add up.
May said the diapers can last "quite a while," or almost a whole year, due to the amount of diaper donations.
"Those diapers we receive help parents through Christmas, through that time where they're trying to get over the hump," she added. "It's a way for us to help them."
Paducah Day Nursery is located at 2425 S. 25th St. and operates 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.