ST. LOUIS — With all of these schools closing, organizations and businesses are coming up with ways to help families during this time.
Jennifer Range is the owner of We Rock The Spectrum in Edwardsville.
"Our mission is to always reach out to those families that most need us," she said.
The franchise company is a fully inclusive sensory gym and they're planning to have a free break time/drop-off service for doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals working tirelessly on the front line of COVID-19.
"Go sleep or run errands and with schools out, there isn’t much of a break for parents, not only working 12-hour shifts, but helping those kids with school," Range says.
Range's son has autism and she knew a place like this was needed. But now, more than ever, she knows the need of her play place.
She said the Fenton, Edwardsville, and St. Ann locations are doing this.
"All this play helps definitely with maintaining the calm. We want to be that calm in the midst of the storm." Range says passionately.
Before you come in, you do need to call ahead. She has to follow CDC regulations and only have about 10 to 12 children there.
Erin Kelley, the Executive Director of Step Up STL also wants to lift up the stress.
"With kids home or parents that are financially vulnerable and have their hours cut, we want to make sure we’re able to meet those needs," Kelley told 5 On Your Side.
That's why she's working with school districts in the St. Louis region.
"We're activating parent groups and hosting drives and we will put together kits with whatever the needs are. We need personal care items, household cleaning items, food," Kelley says.
In 24 hours, they've collected $2,300 and received all these donations.
It just shows, when times get hard, there are people who remind us, our community will work harder.
"St. Louis is enormously generous," she said. "People come out of the woodwork and do anything, especially for our kids."
Next weekend, Step Up STL said it will be packing kits and distributing them to families. Depending on how the school wants to handle it, they'll drop it off at home or give them to counselors for the handoff.
If you'd like to donate, you can call Kelley at 314-471-3444 or head over to their Facebook page. Step Up said you can drop off donations at Mungenast St. Louis Honda.