Two Rochester sisters create childcare program for healthcare and essential workers |

Two Rochester sisters create childcare program for healthcare and essential workers

Jaclyn Harold
Created: March 22, 2020 10:47 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- When states began closing bars, restaurants, and schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of workers lost their jobs and parents lost their childcare. 

"Just the kind of rate of change to our daily lives has been pretty incredible," said Hannah Pittock, a Rochester resident, home from college after her senior semester was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Hannah made the trip back home, she and her younger sister Rioghna, a junior at Mayo High School in Rochester, decided to launch a company together that would help give back to those who are considered essential workers, those who still have to go to work in the midst of this crisis.  According to Governor Tim Walz, these are the people who work in the healthcare industry, in stores, emergency workers, and schools.

"I was talking to my mom who runs a residency program at Mayo Clinic and she was kind of voicing some of her concern as like if childcare and schools are closed then my residents can't come to work because they have young children and nobody to watch them. Well, you know, high schoolers won't be working either and they won't be going to school so they can babysit," said Rioghna.

Rioghna said with high school students unable to work or go to school, why not step up to help out the men and women working in healthcare.

The sisters created the company Step Up to SIT, which matches babysitters with families of essential workers, and the business has really taken off.

"We are managing the Rochester campus and we also have forms live in Scottsdale and Jacksonville, those other Mayo Clinic campuses although we're waiting on student ambassadors there so it's a little bit slower, but we're also in the Twin Cities now, Chicago, Miami, Boston and we're hoping to on-board someone today for New York," said Hannah. 

Rioghna said when they set up the website they had dozens of volunteers who signed up to help, and they've matched about 50 families with sitters. The sisters also incorporated grocery pick-up and delivery, which they called Step Up to SHOP. 

Hannah said they have volunteers sign up to help get groceries for people who are considered at high-risk of contracting COVID-19 but they have not seen a lot of people using the service just yet

Here's a link to Step Up to Sit website.

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