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Parent support group helping Columbus families as potential teachers' strike looms

Parents share their support for the teachers' strike, but worry about what this means for single-parent households as school is less than two weeks away.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With school just days away, communities are doing what they can to support each other this year while the clock is ticking on the potential teachers' strike with Columbus City Schools.

Parents who spoke with 10TV say they stand by the teachers but are concerned about what this means for families if a resolution can’t be met in time for the first day of school, especially in single-parent households where monitoring remote learning is not an option.

“With inflation, job loss, unemployment, all of that ties into reaching out to our community,” says Cherry Ridley, who spent Sunday serving the east Columbus community with her church, Ephphata Ministries. 

She along with dozens of others lined the neighborhood streets, passing out school supplies, gift cards and food for families in need.

“I'm hoping and I'm praying that we can come to a happy decision and everyone is able to be successful, teachers and students, throughout the year,” says Ridley.

Regardless of the outcome of the strike, the ministry will continue to support families.

Meanwhile, parent support groups like “Moms Help Moms” say a strike could have devastating consequences, specifically for single-parent households.

“There is a ton of anxiety, there is a ton of fear,” says Berit Mann with Moms Help Moms. “We're looking at mom's being afraid of being able to provide the basics for their children, food, basic education, child care, people are running into job loss.”

Mann says there are many families who are not equipped for remote learning and depend on in-person schooling for transportation and daily meals.

“This is truly at this point a potential crisis being faced by single mothers and in the Columbus districts,” says Mann.

Dena Sico says she stands beside the Columbus teachers and like many others, is preparing for virtual learning until a resolution is met.

“I'd say the most important thing for the parents is for the district to just listen to the teachers, we really put our trust in our teachers to know best what our students need,” says Sico.

The families say communities will have to support those with fewer resources.

“There are basic needs that these kids have, they need safe places to learn,” says Sico.

“I have not spoken to one person who does not support the teacher strike, but the effect on families of the strike in the Columbus district is catastrophic,’ says Mann.

If classes go virtual, Mann says things to keep in mind in supporting parents are transportation to the school meal service, help with childcare for the single-parent households and the electronics students may need.

Moms Help Moms will be having a drive providing free school supplies, prizes and electronics for families in need. The drive will be at Scioto/Leatherlips Park in Dublin at 1 p.m. on Aug. 27. 

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