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Fruit and book giveaway brings smiles to faces

Kids were happy to receive bottles of bubbles and Dr. Seuss books at the Picayune Early Head Start on Rosa Street Thursday afternoon. Early Head Start staff greeted children by name as bags were handed through car windows.

Early Head Start partnered with Molina Healthcare and the Mississippi State Department of Health to provide families with fresh fruit, books, bubbles, activities and information about preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Molina Healthcare representatives and Early Head Start staff began handing bags out to families early because there were already parents lined up at the Rosa Street site.
Neterior McCormick, the Early Head Start Health, Safety and Nutrition Manager, said the event was meant to bring awareness to COVID-19 and give fresh fruit, books and activities to children in the community.

Molina Healthcare Community Engagement Specialist Elnora Smith said the activities included aimed to encourage kids to spend time outdoors.

“With the coronavirus pandemic, kids have been stuck in the house,” said Smith. “While you’re in the house you’ll snack on almost anything so we wanted to give healthier snack options.”

It was great to see kids smile about receiving oranges and apples, said Smith.

The bags included fresh fruit, like apples, oranges, pears and bananas; coloring books, crayons, bubbles, Dr. Seuss books, jump ropes, balls, flashcards and puzzles, said Smith.

Families were also given some educational information about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control such as how to safely wear and take off face coverings, guidance for living in large households during the pandemic and how someone who is already sick can prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC website, cdc.gov/coronavirus, offers additional information on COVID-19 including recommendations about cloth face covers, how to manage stress during the pandemic, guidance on funerals and on caring for children.

Children were excited to see Early Head Start staff and staff members were excited to see the kids after having the school year cut short, said Nicholson site manager Simone Roche.