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In Hard Times, Care Center Tries for $25K Reward

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y—With Hanukkah in full force and Christmas around the corner, gift giving is near the forefront of everyone’s mind. The Mount Kisco Child Care Center is hoping to catch some of that fervor, but is only asking for a few votes, which can be given by the click of a mouse.

Beginning as a simple contest at the start of the month, the center placed itself in the running for the Pepsi Refresh Project, the annual contest that awards a handful of participants with up to $50,000 towards an “idea” that Pepsi and voters find worthy. The center submitted its name for the $25,000 award and sat ranked 73rd as of Wednesday. To get the $25,000, Mount Kisco Child Care would have to finish in the top 15.

The $25,000 would be welcomed as the center has encountered difficulties receiving government money to help fund families on scholarships, representatives said. In a letter sent out to members of the center’s program, the board of directors described how the center will be losing $70,000 in funding, down to $190,000 from the usual $260,000 in government support.

“The $25,000 is so very important to help with our scholarship initiative so we can have the children in our program,” said Keri Reitman, the director of development. “We wouldn’t ask a family to leave, but it puts an additional strain on the center to find the resources to give the children the care and education they are here for.”

According to Reitman, the center is the only Westchester non-profit in the running. The push for extra dollars does not surprise its social worker, Ruth Goodman, who has seen the trend of families turn more towards needing scholarship.

“I can tell you more and more families have members who were laid off or someone who’s consulting work is drying up and they’re going through really tough times,” Goodman said. “More and more, we've got families, in order to go to work and continue to support their families, they need us to help support the childcare costs.”

Pepsi accepts text votes to support the center by sending the number 110389 to Pepsi’s number, 73774. Voters can also turn to this web page to place their vote. Those interested can vote daily by website and text until Dec. 30 at 11:59 p.m.

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