A Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley student receives nourishing food and care along with learning and fun. But resources are shrinking and the needs continue to grow.
By Melissa Wurzer, marketing coordinator, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley
Within days of school closures all across our community, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley began offering emergency meal services at our Menasha and Appleton locations to hundreds of families in need.
Since mid-March, more than 72,000 meals have been distributed to area youth — a number that continues to grow daily. Some kids come on foot, some by vehicle, and one young person even pulls a little red wagon to collect his meals.
Our community’s health care, public safety, and other essential workers needed our support as they met the pandemic’s challenges. Like our emergency food service, the BGCFV’s dedicated team rallied quickly to provide daily, day-long care for 436 essential workers’ children in the spring and summer of 2020.
When schools and businesses shut down, we needed to find different ways to continue helping the young people who count on the BGCFV for so much.
Once again, our team moved quickly and developed a robust array of digital supports. These included ongoing virtual case management sessions for 300 middle and high school students, daily production and posting of multiple educational support programs each school day, virtual support groups for families in the Center for Grieving Children, nightly “Teen Talk” sessions, and telehealth counseling through our Youth & Family Counseling Program.
In total, our staff created more the 334 virtual Club and Teen Talk videos that were shared on our Facebook page and YouTube channel to provide parents with additional resources to keep their youth engaged in learning, having fun, and staying healthy both mentally and physically.
As students began to transition back to school this fall, our organization made an unprecedented shift to expand Club availability from just a few hours each day to full days at eight of our nine locations in order to provide distance learning support to youth in need.
Our staff are working hard to engage with youth to help them complete assignments and stay on track, despite not being at school. We will also continue to be there to provide emotional and mental health support as the need for this service continues to grow.
We know that families are being forced to make incredibly difficult decisions right now – about work, feeding their families, caring for their children and ultimately supporting their futures. We are hopeful that the additional assistance we are providing will lessen the stress on these youth and families.
If you would like to help or learn more, contact the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley to donate or volunteer. In addition, the clubs have immediate job positions that need to be filled. Learn more about career opportunities here.