Need help with basic needs as a result of the #COVID19 crisis? Text your zip code to 898-211 to connect with a live resource specialist. Tell them what you need help with, and they will text you resources in your area that might be able to help.

They are experiencing high call volumes right now, and the quickest way to get help is via text. You can also search their resources on your own at


Update 4/14/20  As you likely know, Thursday, Governor Wolf closed schools for the rest of this current school year. First Start Partnerships has developed First Start @ Home to provide families with resources and support from teachers to continue to ensure each child arrives ready for kindergarten.


UPDATE 3/25/20: We have been informed by Governor Wolf that all PA schools will remain closed through at least April 8, 2020, for students.  Staff would be allowed to return on April 9, provided COVID-19 is subsiding.   Because this falls over the Holiday weekend and wanting to provide our staff a day to prepare for the children to return, First Start Partnerships children would not physically return to school until Tuesday, April 14.  We will continue to work with state and local leaders, including school districts, in making these difficult decisions.

Read the full press release from PA Governor Wolf here:


UPDATE 3/13/20:First Start Partnerships will close all locations from March 16th through March 27th. This is out of an abundance of caution for our children and staff, and with a sincere desire to keep our community safe. Our team will be sharing activities you can do with your child when he or she is with you. If you need support, please contact your Family Advocate (Head Start and Early Head Start center-based), Home Visitor (Early Head Start Home-Based), Pam Raynor (Pre-K Counts), or your teacher through the Remind app. If you do not have a contact, you may email us as, or call us at 717-263-8019, extension “0” and we will return your call within 24 hours.

Please stay safe and healthy to help you and our community.


Dear First Start Families,

As you are aware, recent reports regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have dominated the headlines. Concerns about the spread of the virus both in the U.S. and abroad are being closely monitored by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Similarly, First Start Partnerships for Children and Families is closely monitoring information received daily. We are in contact with The Office of Head Start (OHS) and Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).   Our primary concern is to ensure the health and safety of our families and staff. While it is important to continue monitoring the spread of COVID-19, it is equally important to take precautionary measures.

In the event of a COVID-19 closure, families will be notified via Remind. Information will also be posted on the website and Facebook page.

If you have any questions please contact your classroom Teacher or Family Advocate.


For up to date information click here:

image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

First Start @ Home

First Start @ Home supports families as their child’s first and forever teacher during this Stay @ Home social distancing time. Our three programs, Early Head Start, Head Start and Pre-Counts will all participate in First Start @ Home beginning Tuesday, April 14, 2020 and continuing through the remainder of the school year. Information will be sent out to families via classroom facebook groups, websites or Remind.


First Start @ Home uses the ReadyRosie technology-based curriculum, with daily videos and activities for children and their families. Teachers also connect with each child and family to develop the skills needed for kindergarten.



ReadyRosie is a RESEARCH-BASED parenting curriculum that builds on parents’ knowledge. ReadyRosie harnesses the power of video and mobile technology to empower families and schools to work together to promote SCHOOL READINESS. Families, YOU play an essential role in the education and well-being of your child. Together the First Start Staff and ReadyRosie can support you in that role!


Parent introduction videos:  English  Spanish

What is Coronavirus?

World Health Organization: What is Coronavirus?

Prevention Tips

The first and most important measure you can take is to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. These simple measures can drastically reduce the risk of catching viruses such as the flu and COVID-19. Handwashing should be with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with a hand sanitizer. Another preventative is to get the flu shot, as having the flu and COVID-19 at the same time would be worse than the flu alone. The flu shot can be obtained at your doctor’s office or a pharmacy.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others.
    • The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19


How to make your own face mask to help stop the spread of the coronavirus



Resources for home

The CDC has provided resources for you to prepare your home.




Food Assistance
Below is a list of school districts and businesses that are providing lunches for children:

School Districts

Chambersburg Area School District


Starting March 30th, CASD Food Service will be reducing meal service to one day per week. On Monday, five breakfast and five lunch meals will be provided to children in a package at our three current locations.

  • 10:45 AM – 11:20 AM – Franklin County housing parking lot (440 W Washington St)
  • 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM – Second Street Park (448 S 2nd St)
  • 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Ben Chambers Elementary School parking lot (481 N Franklin St)

They encourage parents or guardians to go with children to pick up meals, as the additional items may be difficult for small children to carry home.

​​​​​​​A five-day meal pack will be provided again on April 6th.

For up-to-date information from the District, please visit:

They are asking the community to assist them by following the guidelines below:

  • If you or your child are sick, please do not visit these locations.
  • Please follow social distancing protocols by avoiding close contact with others, even if not exhibiting any symptoms.
  • Children are permitted to receive a lunch at any location, but are limited to one meal per day.

For up to date information from the District, please visit: 


Greencastle Antrim School District

All children & teens ages 1-18 eat for free. March 18th – March 27th. Serving on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 11:30am – 1:00pm.

Drive thru location:

Antrim Township Building Parking Lot

10655 Antrim Church Road

Greencastle, PA 17225

During Emergency closure of Greencastle Antrim Schools, ALL children will be provided with 2 lunches and 2 breakfasts for two days on Monday and Wednesday and 1 lunch and 1 breakfast on Friday. Meals will be available for free for anyone 18 and under regardless of what school they attend or it they are on the meal program.

Please contact the Food Service Director, Nancy K. Foust with any additional questions at


Tuscarora School District

Meals will be served Monday-Friday both weeks during the closure:
      • Breakfast – 8:30-9:30
      • Lunch – 11:30-1:00
      • Meals will be grab and go
      • Kids 18 years of age and under eat free
      • Adults over the age of 18 pay the following
        • $2 for breakfast
        • $3 for lunch
    • Meals will start on Monday, March 16 2020


Waynesboro Area School District – Begins Wednesday March 18, 2020 11:30 – 1:00

UPDATE 3/20: Meals will be available Monday, Wednesday and Friday as follows: Monday and Wednesday children will receive 2 lunches and 2 breakfast and Friday children will receive 1 lunch and 1 breakfast. 

Free Grab and Go Food Service Program- All children 18 years and younger.  

  • Fairview Elementary 220 Fairview Ave. – Front parking lot 11:30 – 1:00
  • Summitview Elementary 840 E. 2nd Street – Smiley Face Entrance 11:30 – 1:00
  • Mowrey Elementary 7891 Tomstown, Rd – Parking lot entrance 11:30- 1:00

Walk-up or drive-thru. WASD asks that you maintain 6 feet distance between you and other. Please stay in your car. If walking, please do not gather. Please contact the Food Service Department at 717-762-1191 ext 1171 or 1208 if you have any questions or concerns.



Chambersburg Area

Roy-Pitz Beer 

140 N. Third St.

giving a free bagged lunch to children in need starting March 17th (T-F), 11:30am-1:00pm (while supplies last).

Caretti’s Pizza 

1710 Lincoln Way East

Offering free lunch (a slice of pizza, banana, & water or fruit punch) to Chambersburg School District Students. This will start Tuesday, March 17th, 11:30am-12:30pm.


Etters Roxbury Store

11195 Forge Hill Road
Roxbury, Pennsylvania 17251

They are offering Lurgan Elementary School students a FREE lunch during the school closure. There will be two options to choose from during this time. Please call in to order your child a FREE lunch between 11am – 1pm and they will gladly have it ready for pick-up!

Mercersburg Area

Romeos Café

66 Church St.

Mercersburg, PA 17236

Any student who would like lunch provided free of charge can come in and grab two slices of pizza and a soda between the hours of 11:00 and 2:00.

St. Thomas Area

Pat & Carla’s Italian Eatery II (teaming up with Sites’ Garage)

3218 Lincoln Way W

Chambersburg, PA 17201

Monday – Friday 11:00 – 1:00. Each child will have their choice of a slice of cheese pizza or Bambino and a juice box for lunch until April 1. You must be a St. Thomas elementary grade student.


Below are a list of locations that will remain open until there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Franklin County.

Chambersburg Food Pantry

Chambersburg, PA 17201 533 S. Main Street

Phone (717) 263-5060 Fax (717) 263-7060


Greencastle Food Pantry

Greencastle, PA 17225 57 West Baltimore Street

Phone (717) 263-5060 Fax (717) 263-7060


Orrstown Food Pantry

Orrstown, PA 17241 3442 Orrstown Road

Phone (717) 263-5060 Fax (717) 263-7060


Fayetteville Food Pantry

Fayetteville, PA 17222 44 East Main Street

Phone (717) 263-5060 Fax (717) 263-7060


St. Thomas Food Pantry

Saint Thomas, PA 17252 360 St. Thomas-Edenville Road

Phone (717) 263-5060

Five Forks Brethren in Christ Church

Waynesboro, PA 17268 9244 Five Forks Road

Phone (717) 762-2991 Fax (717) 762-8124

Plans to remain open at least through next week (March 21st)

Education Resources

Below is a list of companies that are offering free services during this time:

  • ABC mouse is providing you with free at-home access to our online learning programs ABCmouse,
    Adventure Academy, and ReadingIQ while your child’s school is closed.
  • These research-based educational programs include thousands of digital learning activities, and they can help preschool, pre-k, elementary, and middle school students keep learning while schools are closed.
  • All three programs can be used on computers, tablets, and smartphones, and you can add up to
    three children per account!
  • Use code SCHOOL6739
  • If you need assistance redeeming this code or have questions about any of the products, contact their Customer Support team at
  • ParentLetter_AofL_SCHOOL6739(2)

Click here for more information and the access code.

  • ActivEd, Inc. offers Walkabouts, web-based lessons for pre-K to second-grade students that integrate movement with language arts, math, and reading content and correlate to your state’s standards.

  • Discovery K12 provides a complete online curriculum for pre-k to 12th grade. All main subjects are covered, plus extra curriculum courses.

  • GoNoodle engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at school, home and everywhere kids are!
  • Khan Academy Kids is a free, award-winning online education program for children ages 2 – 7. Our mobile app was designed by child development experts at Stanford University and engages kids in core subjects like early literacy, reading, writing, language, and math, while encouraging creativity and building social-emotional skills. It is age-appropriate, personalized based on where your child is at, and engaging.
  • Free at-home kids yoga lesson plans
  • illustrated recipes designed to help kids age 2-12 cook with their grown-ups. Recipes encourage culinary skills, literacy, math, and science.
  • Scholastic has created a learning hub that provides 20 days of learning experiences for students in grades PreK-9+ across the content areas. The company is also providing free access to other digital learning programs. Information provided in this link. Please feel free to share.


Presenting the Kindermusik App!

Families around the world love the Kindermusik connection at home, so now they are giving them even more resources! They bumped up production on the first release of their app, and can’t wait for you try it. Download it for free on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store today. It fills homes with music and helps create musical memories.

Mental Health Resources
If you need to speak with someone during this time, assistance is available through the PA Crisis Text Line. You can text with a licensed counselor for people in crisis.
Text PA to 741741

Mental Health America Resources

As the number of cases of COVID-19 increase, so does the associated anxiety.

For the general public, the mental health effects of COVID-19 are as important to address as are the physical health effects. And for the one in five who already have mental health conditions – or the one in two who are at risk of developing them – we need to take personal, professional, and policy measures now to address them.

For the past several weeks, MHA has been using its unique database to monitor daily this increase in anxiety. According to our screening data, we experienced a 19 percent increase in screening for clinical anxiety in the first weeks of February, and a 12 percent increase in the first two weeks of March.  

This suggests that our screeners are not just “worried well.” Instead they  represent thousands of people whose lives and sense of well-being are being severely impacted by concerns about the virus. 

As things unfold in the coming days and weeks, MHA will continue to monitor anxiety. 

To aid individuals and communities during this time, MHA has compiled a range of resources and information. Visit for more information.


SEL and Mental Health Resources during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Financial Information
Translated Resources

Daily Briefing Livestream

Fact Sheets (PA Department of Health)

What You Need to Know (CDC)

Symptoms of COVID-19 (CDC)

What to Do If Sick (CDC)

Give your child a future

Learn More