Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana is distributing dinners to Club members each week at its Club locations throughout Northwest Indiana. Pickup is every Thursday and consists of five dinners per member. Kris Condon, the organization’s vice president of human resources and operations, said the decision to provide dinners was made after staff conducted wellness checks with parents.
“Parents told us that while they were able to pick up snacks and meals from other organizations, they needed help with dinners. We knew that was a void we could fill,” Condon said.
Through partnerships with local restaurants, Boys & Girls Clubs is providing five take-and-bake dinners to Club members through no-contact pickups at each Club. President and CEO Ryan Smiley said it would not have been possible to distribute meals at certain Clubs without the support of community funders. Funding for the meal distribution at Cedar Lake Boys & Girls Club was made possible by a grant from Legacy Foundation, Crown Point Community Foundation, The John S. & James L. Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund at Legacy Foundation, and Foundations of East Chicago. Grant funds from United Way of Porter County and Porter County Community Foundation are providing meals at the Duneland Club in Chesterton.
“The work these organizations do in Northwest Indiana is invaluable, and the way they have stepped up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been remarkable,” Smiley said.
Meals are distributed on a first come, first served basis while supplies last. Parents can find pickup times on the Club Connect portal on Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s website.
The Member Dinners program is one of four resources the organization recently unrolled as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The other resources include Your Club at Home, a virtual Club experience that provides youth with STEM and other activities, and a Parent Hotline, which provides professional support for parents who are struggling to help their children navigate the anxiety resulting from COVID-19 and social isolation. Finally, the organization is providing E-Learning Assistance. Condon said that many parents expressed frustration with struggling to help their children complete distance learning assignments for school.
“Some of the parents we spoke with told us they are having a hard time helping their kids complete their school assignments, either because they aren’t proficient enough in the subject, don’t have technological know-how, or have a language barrier,” Condon said. “Our E-Learning Assistance program will connect Club members with Club staff they already know who can help them overcome those obstacles and complete their work on time.”
For more information about food distribution times and locations or any of the other resources Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest is providing, visit bgcgreaternwi.org/club-connect.