Boys & Girls Clubs respond to community need amid COVID-19

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Redlands-Riverside is meeting local families’ need for meals and educational kids’ activities during the statewide COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown.

The Club is offering all families of youth who attend the Club a bag of groceries and an age-appropriate activity pack. The Club revamped its services to support its families when local school districts closed in mid-March.

“The majority of our members’ families are low income, and more than 40 percent are at or below the poverty line, so we wanted to fill the gaps for meals – and give the kids fun, educational activities to do at home,” Club Senior Vice President Mark Davis said.

The Club temporarily halted after-school and school-break programs for youth after government officials warned against gatherings of 50 or more amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Davis said parents’ response to the food and activity bags has been “exceptional.”

“They have all been so appreciative, and one of them thanked us for always making the kids our top priority,” he said.

The Club is working with the Redlands Unified School District, Family Service Association of Redlands, Domino’s, and other partners to provide snacks and food. The Club is also taking donations of essentials like cereal, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, and rice and beans from the community.

“We want to give our families enough food for dinners and weekends, when school districts aren’t distributing meals for students,” Davis said. “We appreciate the support of the Redlands Unified School District, Family Services, and other community partners that make it possible for us to serve our families – especially those who need it most — during this public health crisis.”

The Club is evaluating when to reopen for youth programs. The food and activity program will continue as long as there is a need and enough funds and items are donated to sustain it.  —Joy

Posted: March 29, 2020

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