Politics & Government

With Wake schools closing for May 1 protest, here’s where to find childcare and food

Thousands of educators march in Raleigh and demand respect

On Wednesday May 16, 2018, the opening day of the legislative session, educators and their supporters from across the state traveled to Raleigh to demand more funding for public education.
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On Wednesday May 16, 2018, the opening day of the legislative session, educators and their supporters from across the state traveled to Raleigh to demand more funding for public education.

Programs are being offered to provide Wake County families with childcare and food on May 1, when schools are closed because of the planned mass teachers protest in Raleigh.

At least 22 school districts across the state have canceled classes on May 1 because so many school employees have requested the day off due to the protest. In Wake County, families of 160,000 students are trying to arrange alternative plans for the day of the protest.

“We know that this schedule change puts a burden on families,” Wake school board chairman Jim Martin said in the announcement about schools closing. “We also know that our teachers are not taking the day off.

“Instead, they are taking leave from the classroom to advocate for public education, for their students and for your children. I ask that you give them your support.”

Wake made the announcement on April 10 to give families time to prepare.

The Salvation Army of Wake County responded by announcing it was providing free childcare to children of Wake teachers on May 1. The group said Tuesday that all the spots are now full.

But some groups still have spots available for children of both teachers and other Wake County parents.

The YMCA of the Triangle is offering childcare for May 1 for $25 at several locations in the area. Jennifer Nelson, a YMCA spokeswoman, said Tuesday that spots are still available for May 1. Go to https://bit.ly/2VhuEtx for more information, including a list of sites.

The Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department is offering childcare programs on May 1 at five sites. They’re charging $30 to Raleigh residents and $45 for non-city residents. Slots are still available. Go to https://bit.ly/2KMgNDd for more information.

Food on May 1 is also a pressing concern for some families, especially low-income ones that rely on school meals for their children. Food is being collected Saturday so that students can take it home with them on April 30 to have something to eat on May 1 through the Backpack Buddies program.

The Wake County chapter of the N.C. Association of Educators is encouraging people to bring items such as instant oatmeal, granola bars and ramen noodle packs to Saturday’s 2019 Food Drive For Backpack Buddies. People are asked to mark “May 1” on the bag containing their donations, which will be given to schools in the Backpack Buddies program.

Food is being collected from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at these 10 grocery stores:


Food Lion, 620 Laura Duncan Road


Food Lion, 4621 Hillsborough Road


Food Lion, 8745 Holly Springs Road

Harris Teeter, 1151 Tryon Village Drive


Food Lion, 3415 Avent Ferry Road

Food Lion, 2420 Wycliff Road

Food Lion, 5633 Creedmoor Road

Food Lion, 2861 Jones Franklin Road

Harris Teeter, 500 Oberlin Road

Harris Teeter, 5563 Western Blvd.

The Wake County school system announced on April 29 that free school lunches will be available May 1 at Green, Washington and Wildwood elementary schools in Raleigh and Hodge Road Elementary School in Knightdale. Any Wake County school system student can receive a lunch at no cost on Wednesday by going to any of those four locations.

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T. Keung Hui has covered K-12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school employees and the community understand the vital role education plays in North Carolina. His primary focus is Wake County, but he also covers statewide education issues.