YMCA Opens Child Care for Essential Workers to Serve Hundreds of Families

Last updated: March 26, 2020, at 5:07 a.m. PT

Originally published: March 18, 2020, at 7:49 a.m. PT

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Seattle, WA, March 17, 2020 – During the COVID-19 shutdown of fitness and recreational facilities, the YMCA of Greater Seattle is transforming its King County branches into child care centers dedicated to serving the families of essential workers. This group includes medical providers, first responders, and other essential workers like grocery and drug store employees. The Y’s child care centers have a total capacity for 400 kids and feature the Y’s acclaimed fun and enrichment-based programming which includes lunch and morning and afternoon snacks. Care will be available beginning at 7:30 AM on March 18, 2020. Care hours will be 7:30 AM until 5:30 PM Monday-Friday and can be full or partial week.

The closure of Washington’s school districts has caused significant impact on the families of first responders and employees of essential service organizations. While others may self-isolate, healthcare workers, emergency personnel, and social service workers are working long shifts, in isolation from family, in order to provide care to the community. With schools closed, affected families are searching for affordable child care. We will care for their families while they care for ours.

“We are grateful to those who are working to serve our community during these unprecedented times, so we are stepping up to support those working on behalf of all of us.” Loria Yeadon, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle said. “Showing up for our community is what we do best. We’re honored to do what we do best to help families across our region.”

Given the current high-risk situation, the Y is operating in full compliance with health department guidelines. Staff are cleaning all high-touch surfaces in the facility every two hours and ensuring that children are washing their hands. Each child care hub will be partitioned into groups of no more than 10 kids in any given space. With capacity for approximately 50 kids across 25,000-50,000 square feet per branch, this provides ample room for social distancing, child care programs will take place at selected Y branches, see our branch locations here. Northshore child care is located offsite at local elementary schools.

In addition to child care, the Y is shifting work to support critical needs in the community:

  • Providing child care to support first responders and essential workers
  • Increasing Hunger Initiatives programs across the region
  • Making well-being calls to most vulnerable members, especially seniors
  • Hosting blood drives to help replenish desperately needed supply
  • Continuing to care for our teens and young adults in our housing programs
  • Continuing to compensate and support our employees and maintain our facilities

Click to support our community response.

For families interested in child care, email registration@seattleymca.org for next steps.


About the YMCA of Greater Seattle

The YMCA of Greater Seattle is the Northwest’s leading nonprofit organization strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Founded in 1876, the Y reaches more than 238,000 people of all backgrounds, abilities and financial circumstances annually through 14 branches, two overnight camps and more than 200 program sites throughout King and south Snohomish counties. It nurtures more than 92,000 kids and teens to develop their gifts and give back to our community and engages 23,000 volunteers who contribute more than 388,000 hours of service each year. Visit seattleymca.org.


For more information about the YMCA of Greater Seattle and the overall response to COVID-19, email abecker@seattleymca.org.

Category: Press Releases