MPB Makes Special Delivery To Child Care Centers

Throughout the day Tuesday, owners of child care centers loaded up their trucks with boxes of presents.

"Some of the items we received today are rugs and books and learning equipment," said Gwen Kennard, owner of Little People Learning Center in Moss Point.

The donations came from Mississippi Public Broadcasting's "Operation ABC-Read."

"These are actually some of the books on tapes," said Nikki McCelleis, as she opened a box of materials.

McCelleis is the Education Services Director for MPB. The books, furniture, even puppets are going to 55 child care centers who took the time to fill out a questionnaire.

"We were trying to assess what these centers had lost and what their needs were," said McCelleis. "Those who responded to us were definitely in need, and we were glad to provide these items for them today. Everything comes out to be probably a little over $1,000 per day care center."

"This is like Christmas. Let's open it up and see what we have," said Charlotte Orsborn.

Orsborn owns Parent's Choice in Biloxi. Her business got soaked when Katrina tore off the roof.

"You can't believe something like this could cause excitement in somebody who's almost 60," Orsborn said as she opened a huge box of headsets. "This is great. This is a listening center and we lost ours and I was about ready to order one."

Orsborn says many child care providers are still struggling to bounce back.

"It would have taken us longer to replace the things that we lost just due to the economics of what's going on and it really has been a blessing and I applaud them," Orsborn said. "I'm surprised that even after two years, we're still getting help."

Help that will especially benefit South Mississippi children.

"If we're going to have quality child care, then all the help we're getting is greatly appreciated, because we need that to get back up to where we need to be," Orsborn said.

The $55,000 in funding came from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. On Wednesday, the crew will be in Hattiesburg to hand out donations to more than 20 day care centers there.