Child Care Aware Northwest is urging communities to recognize local child care providers on Friday, May 7, also known as Provider Appreciation Day.

Local child care providers have witnessed tremendous change during the pandemic and resulting economic upheaval, the organization said.

Still, they provided families with safe, healthy, nurturing spaces where children can feel safe, eat healthy meals, grow and learn. Many of them also stepped in to support children in remote learning situations, doing all they could to provide space and supports for school-aged children.

Provider Appreciation Day is celebrated each year on the Friday before Mother’s Day and was started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey who wanted to recognize the tireless efforts of providers who care for children of working parents. Support for this event has grown each year and it is now recognized by individuals and local governments throughout the U.S.

The 21 counties of Northwestern Minnesota have 1,007 licensed family child care providers and centers, the organization said.

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Child Care Aware of Minnesota is a network of organizations from across the state dedicated to assisting families, early childhood professionals and the community with child care information, grants, services and training.