Lakeland childcare facility announces closure, leaves parents scrambling

Church trustee hopes a donor can save it.

LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) – More than a hundred Lakeland-area families are suddenly scrambling to find childcare. That’s after a note came home this week that longtime daycare facility Noah’s Ark Childcare Center is closing its doors.

When Gen Gelman got the letter Wednesday, she was stunned.  Not only did it mean her child would soon be out of a place to go during the day, but that she herself would be out of a job.  She’s worked at the center almost two years as a teacher and sends her daughter there.

“I can’t pay my bills – I really don’t know what we’re going to do,” Gelman said.

She’s one of more than a hundred parents in limbo after the center announced it was closing its doors. The church where it’s housed, United Methodist Temple, discovered the center is too much of a financial burden on their budget. Creditors are ringing the church non-stop and a church trustee calls it a ‘crisis,’

“We just discovered the problem- we should have discovered it before now,” Trustee John Ward said.  “We didn’t have the checks and balances in place and we have failed in that respect, too,” he added.

Ward claims there was nothing fraudulent-only poor money management by a prior childcare director. While the letter spells the closure out clearly, Ward’s hoping for a miracle somebody will save it.

“If they have a heart for the program, they could help us out,” Ward said.  “We are putting our trust in God’s hands that he will find a way – he is faithful.”

The church board will make a final vote next Friday and if it’s approved the daycare will close at the end of the month. Ward said it will take at least a $50,000 to save the daycare.  Then the daycare would have to adjust its budget and cut some staff.

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