Tyson Foods invests in childcare for Amarillo overnight workers

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 4:35 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - There is a critical need for childcare in Amarillo and nationwide, especially for those working overnight shifts.

Tyson Foods is expanding support to its Amarillo workers and their families by starting a pilot program to offer access to safe, reliable childcare for its overnight sift workers at the company’s local beef production complex.

Tyson says through a recent workforce survey, the company found affordable childcare is one of the main challenges facing Amarillo workers.

This new program will offer free tutition to children of overnight workers through two local service providers.

Tyson Foods awarded more than $228,000 to the Wesley Community Center and $142,000 to the Maverick Boys and Girls Club of Amarillo to better accommodate their facilities for the children of Tyson’s team members.

Each facility will support up to 40 children.

The funding will help provide transportation, increased security, commercial refrigerators, cots and tutoring.

Tyson and both non-profits say this will allow parents to have a peace of mind with where their children are while they are at work.

“We can actually have single parents comfortable where their children are going to be and then focusing on coming to work because we know that is keeping parents from employment and if we can solve this little social ill then the company is successful, the team member is successful, and the kids are safe,” said Dan Heffernan, vice president of human resources operations, Tyson Foods.

United Way says due to the pandemic it created an even larger need for childcare.

“In order to try and recover from that they need more income, they need stability in their workplace, they need to go to work and so what this does, it offers them the opportunity to have a hand up not a handout they’re working, they’re working hard at night,” said Adam Leathers, senior director of community impact, United Way of Amarillo & Canyon.

The Maverick Boys and Girls Club of Amarillo says they have been working on a solution to this problem for a long time, so they are happy to see a company finally stepping up to address the issue.

The CEO/Executive Director says there is such a need for this program.

“The normal family is just not normal anymore, people don’t work Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00 p.m., we have a lot of people who work nights and weekends, and childcare has always been a factor and I am so happy for these employees because they’ll have peace of mind now,” said Donna Soria.

She says without children having a place to go after school there can be negative impacts.

“Their parents are at work all day, no help with homework, I mean they’re getting into things maybe they shouldn’t be getting into, maybe hanging out with someone they shouldn’t, maybe seeing something they shouldn’t be seeing maybe, going without a meal, kids are curious, they’re going to experiment with all kinds of things,” said Soria.

She says they will be able to provide kids things such as, structure, a hot meal and help them with homework all in a safe environment.

The Wesley Community Center also says the need for this program is so strong especially for those working overnight.

Both non-profits feel blessed Tyson awarded these grants to ultimately help eliminate the barrier of childcare for the workforce.

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