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Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, HelloBaby Play Center Turns To Virtual Shows For Kids

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With many daycares and playgrounds closed, parents across the city are scrambling for things to do. There is an indoor play center on the South Side, but even that is closed down, so the nonprofit that runs it is turning to the internet to help parents out.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas shows us their new approach.

A lot can change in a couple weeks. HelloBaby, a free indoor playspace at 61st and St. Lawrence, has been closed since March 14. They hoped to reopen by now, but founder Debbie Frisch knows that's not possible

"The past couple weeks seem like years," Frisch said.

The nonprofit is sharing at-home arts and crafts, and other ideas for parents and kids at home.

"I think this is a very hard tough time, and I think a lot of families – not all, but some – don't have as many resources, so I want to support them as much as we can," Frisch said.

Their partners with Stages Performing Arts, for example, are still putting on a show. But now it's done through video conference. They're asking parents to pay what they can for the interactive performance.

"Our goal is really to make this accessible to any family that wants it and needs it right now," Frisch said.

Her two employees are still getting paid with money the nonprofit had saved. HelloBaby runs entirely on grants and donations, and Frisch said, for now, donations aren't coming in.

"It's a different time, and resources are going to a different place right now," she said.

They're also letting parents know about ways to save money, like free internet for students. She's just looking forward to the day she can talk to those parents face-to-face again.

HelloBaby is also giving food, crafts, books, and diapers to families in need from their curb, while practicing social distancing. They are looking into opening a second location, but with so much economic uncertainty, that plan is on hold.

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