Children First in Sarasota receives $30,000 grant to keep employees

Teachers preparing lesson plans for students and social service workers gathering food to keep families fed are all part of the mission at Children First in Sarasota.

"It's a really tough time for our families," said Children First president and CEO, Philip Tavill, "and we want to make sure that they have enough food."

The agency just received a $30,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Barancik Foundation to help Children First employees keep their jobs.

"We would have had to start furloughing staff and we would not be able to make it a week or two and then, you know. It's hard you know. I appreciate it. I can't tell you how much."

Family advocate Elaine Bellamy said she is very thankful.

"I'm grateful to have the opportunity to continue to do what we enjoy doing, but at the same time getting paid and being able to meet the needs of my own family," she said.

Without the staff, critical services for vulnerable families would go unmet.

"People care about each other. People care about those who don't have and they are stepping up in a way that is truly inspiration to see," Tavill said. 

The Community Foundation of Sarasota started a COVID-19 Response Initiative Giving Challenge on Tuesday. The challenged ended Wednesday at noon.