Atlantic City businesses and residents have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping our country and world, but that has not stopped the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City (BGAC) from continuing their mission.
With the help of a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation of South Jersey’s (CFSJ) COVID-19 Response Fund, the Club is addressing food insecurity, while modifying the way services can be delivered.
BGAC offers club members a variety of programs including:
● Hands-on training in STEAM fields and industries to launch the next generation of working professionals including healthcare, hospitality, culinary, and technology. STEAM is an acronym representing the blending of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.
● Character building, tutoring, and life skills development to help Club members to succeed physically, socially, and emotionally.
● Summer camps and other activities in the warm, friendly atmosphere of facilities specially designed for such programs.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BGAC team transitioned to online virtual programming for Club members, using platforms such as Google Classrooms, Zoom, and Facebook Live Videos., The Club has partnered with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey to distribute more than 13,200 meals to families in need. Additional meals are provided as the result of donations from local businesses such as Tony Boloney’s, Tony’s Baltimore Grill, El Chalan, Mr. Taco, and Water Dog Smoke House.
The balance of the SJ Response Fund grant supports the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) to support access to summer camp in a safe environment.
“Most of the Club Families live in a ‘food desert’,’ a place where fresh fruit, vegetables, and groceries are not accessible,” said BGAC Chief Development Officer Renate Taylor. “Because the casinos are closed, people are out of jobs and food pantries aren’t accessible to many families, we felt the need to step up and help. Thanks to the Response Fund grant, we are not only able to continue to help the children virtually, but help feed their families as well. We are working hard to gather the resources necessary to continue serving the 1,600 students who annually use our facilities.”
“The needs the BGAC is addressing are the reason the South Jersey COVID-19 Response Fund was created, said CFSJ Executive Director Andy Fraizer. “The Club’s continued work is evidence the Fund is providing critical support to local organizations serving families in need. Due to the contributions of generous South Jersey neighbors and organizations, the Community Foundation is fortunate to assist with planning the safe re-opening of this valuable community resource.”
The SouthJersey COVID-19 Response Fund continues to respond to local nonprofits that need support to serve communities impacted by the pandemic. To date, South Jersey nonprofits requested more than $6 million, while the Fund has raised $1 million. To support the only Fund where donations stay in our South Jersey region, visit southjerseyresponsefund.org.