American Rescue Plan at Work with Martha’s Table Head Start program in Southeast Washington, D.C

June 30, 2021
| by Dr. Bernadine Futrell, Director of the Office of Head Start
HHS secretary Becerra engaging with kids at Martha's Table

Funds from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) are at work in communities across America to support children and families. Head Start programs received $1 billion investment through the ARP. They are using the funding to build back to fully operational, in-person comprehensive services this summer and fall.

The funding release was highlighted by a tour of a Head Start center in Washington, D.C. on June 30 with HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Head Start Director Dr. Bernadine Futrell. The site was the Martha’s Table Head Start program in Southeast Washington, D.C.

This visit supports the OHS Head Start Forward campaign, which builds on the strengths of Head Start programs as they return to fully in-person comprehensive services. The Head Start Forward campaign supports programs in making reasonable decisions and use available flexibilities to plan for Program Year 2021—2022. Through webinars, guidance, and other resources, OHS will prioritize areas of immediate concern to programs and revisit them as conditions change. Topics will include equity, eligibility, recruitment, selection, enrollment, and attendance (ERSEA), mental health and staff wellness, and health and safety considerations.

Martha’s Table is a local DC non-profit agency, striving to support strong children, strong families, and strong communities by increasing access to quality education, health and wellness, and family resources.

“We honor the dignity of every neighbor who turns to Martha’s Table,” said Mireille Lopez Humes, deputy chief of the Programs Office at Martha’s Table. “The families that come into our Head Start programs get connected to any of our resources and community connections they might need, including the food market, adult education, and mental health services. We know that when we support the whole family, everyone, including the children, benefit.”

Humes added that, “Martha’s Table is thrilled and truly grateful to have received $119,650 in American Rescue Plan funds for our Head Start program. The funds will help us transform our summer learning program this year to further support the development of our children.”

Some services offered by the staff at Martha’s Table, in addition to the Head Start program, include no-cost weekday markets; after school enrichment programs, as well as college and career readiness training to promote lifelong success; and a Family Engagement program which helps strengthen the home-school relationship for children and connects caregivers to critical resources.

Martha’s Table demonstrates the benefits Head Start programs can bring to communities as they return to fully in-person services. ARP funding will help strengthen Head Start programs as they recover from the pandemic, so they in turn can strengthen their communities.

To learn more about our Head Start and Early Head Start program, visit here.