Governor Laura Kelly Announces over 50,000 COVID-19 Comfort Kits Were Provided to Kansas Kids, Families Statewide


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Governor Laura Kelly today announced that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) provided over 50,000 COVID-19 comfort kits to child care facilities across the state.

In partnership with Child Care Aware of Kansas (CCAKS), and using funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, over 50,000 comfort kits containing essential items were delivered to child care facilities to ensure the mental health, social development, early learning, and hygienic needs of children across the state were met during the pandemic.

KDHE and CCAKS delivered three types of kits to child care facilities: hygienic, mental health/social development, and early learning comfort kits. Each kit contained items ranging from hand sanitizer and masks to early learning toys and books.

“These COVID-19 comfort kits contain essential hygiene supplies needed to help kids stay safe and healthy, books and other educational items to promote early learning and development, and comfort items to protect kids’ mental health and wellbeing during these uncertain times,” Governor Kelly said. “I appreciate KDHE and CCAKS for providing our kids with the tools and care they need to be healthy and happy.”

As a part of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Network project, KDHE contracted with CCAKS to help child care facilities address the challenges of the pandemic many Kansas providers were experiencing, including a shortage of supplies. In partnership with Constructive Playthings, Discount School Supply, Kaplan, and Lakeshore, CCAKS sent 27,035 kits to child care facilities and home visiting programs across the state in October 2020.

“Because the same means of comfort aren’t the same for every individual, we decided to focus on these three types of comfort kits,” Rebecca Clancy, Director of Workforce Supports at CCAKS, said. “We knew that providers were facing a variety of challenges delivering quality care, so we used these kits as a means of helping providers meet the various needs of the children they care for.”

After the success of the first round of comfort kits, KDHE and CCAKS again partnered in December 2020 to deliver an additional 25,760 comfort kits to the 2,576 licensed child care facilities across the state. In total, 52,795 comfort kits were delivered across the state using CARES Act funds.

“These seemingly simple kits with everyday items were wildly popular and greatly appreciated by the children and providers alike,” Rachel Sisson, Bureau of Family Health Director at KDHE, said. “We were pleased to see the funds go toward items that put a smile on children’s faces during a difficult time.”

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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