A federal grant used to run Cullman's Head Start program ended Sept. 30 and now the program's future is in danger due to the federal government shutdown.
The program is designed to help low income families provide food and early educational exposure to three and four year olds.
"We serve a hundred children that is roughly a hundred families. Those children get a breakfast, they get lunch. That's two hot nutritional meals a day," Heather Battles, Head Start Social Service Manager, said.
Jackie Mariano, a parent of three children who took part in the Head Start program at Cullman Primary School, is concerned about possible impact of the budget impasse in Washington D.C.
"Both of my kids love it. They both look forward to going every day. I told my son they not be going, take a break. He started crying yesterday," Mariano said.
Jessica Jackson took part in Head Start as a child and now her three children are participating. Without Head Start Jackson's family would be pressed to provide child care.
"It means a lot to us, especially our family. They have been a lot of help throughout the years. We don't know what we would do without them," Jackson said.
The Cullman City School System provided $20,000 to continue the program until Oct. 8, but thanks to donations there is enough money to continue it until Oct. 18.
"Everybody in our community want to support family and students and their teacher. I have 20 staff members who would be affected," Tricia Culpepper, Cullman Primary School Principal, said.
So the Headstart program here in Cullman has bought some time. It's time parents hope Washington politicians use to get their act together.
"How do you explain to a four year old adults are acting like children," Mariano said.
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