From the start of the pandemic, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, with the support of generous donors, helped to meet the needs of families that other organizations could not. The organization is now switching its focus from COVID-19 response to recovery efforts. It plans to reopen its door on June 15 for summer camp to serve the children of families returning to work and to help eliminate the academic achievement gaps that have been exacerbated by school closures, while indefinitely maintaining their hunger-relief initiative for families in need
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County’s $750,000 summer campaign is off to a great start with a $100,000 challenge gift from Amy and John Phelan. The campaign covers the expenses associated with reopening the Clubs to meet CDC guidelines in addition to the extension of the Farm to Family program with partners Fresh RX and Living Hungry that continues to support the farming community.
“After hearing about the Boys & Girls Clubs’ response to the economic hardships some of our county’s families were experiencing, Amy and I wanted to be part of making an impact through the Clubs’ economic recovery efforts,” stated John Phelan, Philanthropist and Managing Partner of MSD Capital. “It’s the right time for the Clubs to open back up to serve the children that need us most in the hardest-hit communities. Parents called back to work now have a safe place for their kids to spend their days, receiving much needed academic and social-emotional mentoring programs. Other families not as fortunate to be working can continue to receive the nutrition assistance they need.”
In addition to a week’s worth of groceries to over 4,000 Club family members through the Farm to Family initiative, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County will continue to give free breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks seven days a week to all children in need. More than 31 thousand meals and snacks are handed out weekly at Club locations throughout the county.
“I first want to thank all of the donors that immediately took action and answered the call to help when the pandemic first shut down our economy,” said Jaene Miranda, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. “Because of those special donors and our unique ability to reach families with the most need, we were able to transform ourselves to supplement the County’s hunger-relief efforts and provide online distance learning programs for our Club children. Now that we’re reopening our Clubs, we recognize that we cannot go back to business as usual. The need is still too great, and we must do more to help our community to recover fully. We are very excited to have the Phelan family involved in our economic recovery efforts.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs’ reopening plan is a reflection of the times as we all work towards stopping the spread of the virus. Due to heightened safety precautions, new Club protocols include the use of PPE equipment for both staff and Club members, no comingling of groups of children and enhanced sanitation practices. With the number of children able to be served at the Clubs reduced in numbers due to social distancing, the organization prioritized members whose parents/guardians were working or heading back to work as first responders or working essential jobs. The online distance learning programs will continue for those children not able to return to the Club.
“Our job is far from done. We are ready to do whatever it takes to help in this recovery process. By contributing to the campaign, we will be able to finish what we started out to do: to be there for the children and families that need us most,” Miranda said.
By opening the Club doors and providing a virtual safe space for children, the Club hopes to create the biggest footprint possible in the community to ensure all youth are cared for and positioned to succeed in the future.
“By offering a matching gift, my goal is to spur generosity because many in our community will depend on the success of this new campaign,” said John Phelan.
For information or to contribute to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County’s economic recovery campaign, contact Renee Booth at firstname.lastname@example.org or (561) 683-3287.