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As we begin a new summer amid a global pandemic, perhaps the biggest and longest-lasting impact COVID-19 will have on kids across eastern Kentucky, the state and America is wide-scale learning loss. With schools shuttered for months and summer learning opportunities severely limited, it’s crucial that local leaders and organizations in Knox, Whitley and eastern Kentucky’s counties continue to band together to ensure kids continue to learn and develop – and get the nutritious meals they need to grow their minds and bodies – despite the challenges coronavirus presents. The situation is even more critical for children living in poverty – which includes nearly 45 percent of kids in Knox County, 35 percent in Whitley County and 1 in 4 kids across the state – who may not have access to school meals they rely on, and books, computers or internet to support learning.

Senate President Robert Stivers understands this, and has shown a commitment to the children and families of eastern Kentucky and across the Bluegrass State – every day and in times of crisis like this. His dedication to ensuring Kentucky’s children have a brighter future has been unequivocal throughout the COVID-19 crisis. His continued support of Save the Children and its east Kentucky’s partners’ pandemic response efforts has enabled more local children and families to get the support they need in this challenging time.

Save the Children has held several local distribution events for kids and families – which provide essential hygiene items, shelf stable food and books and learning materials – and these efforts would simply not be possible without the help of Sen. Stivers. His own individual efforts also include donating and hand-delivering masks and hand sanitizer to hundreds of essential workers who are helping eastern Kentucky kids and families.

There are more than 1 million children across our state who cannot vote to ensure they get the funding they deserve for high-quality education and books and so much more to achieve a bright future. They need champions such as Sen. Stivers, who is working with fellow legislators to ensure children’s needs are met in Frankfort. And in a time of crisis, kids, including my own, are fortunate to have leaders who are going above and beyond to help support both their immediate and long-term needs.

Alissa Taylor

Kentucky State Director, Save the Children

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