Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County working to serve families during the coronavirus

NOW: Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County working to serve families during the coronavirus

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County is asking for the community’s help during the coronavirus pandemic so they can continue to serve their members. 

COVID-19 forced the club to shut its doors March 16 and cancel its Greatest Kids fundraiser set for next month.

Jacqueline Kronk, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, says without that money the club would have to cut staff and stop services. 

“They see us often as they start their day and as they end their day,” said Kronk. “All of a sudden, there’s a void. It’s critical for us to let them know that we are still here.” 

However, Kronk says there is hope. The Family and Children’s Center Foundation awarded the club a $200,000 matching gift. For every dollar raised between now and April 25, up to $200,000 of it will be matched, meaning up to $400,000 would be available to the club during this time. 

Kronk says that money allows the club to pay their staff, create daily virtual programming, like yoga, offer tutoring, supply families with emergency supplies like food, water, and diapers, and create “Club2Go” kits which provide healthy snacks and a week’s worth of activities and worksheets. 

“We’re going to continue to fight to do everything we can to provide the services that they count on,” said Kronk. 

Right now the organization is in contact with the families of the 1,500 kids they serve asking how the club can best support them. Kronk says some families need essentials like water and diapers while others need services like tutoring.  

Tim Staggs’ family is one of them. They received a case of water and a “Club2Go” kit for their 9-year-old son, Ethan, who has been going to the Boys & Girls Club after school since first grade. 

Staggs says it’s a safe, structured environment for his son.

“He’s getting his snack, he’s learning about being healthy,” said Staggs. “They’re keeping him active, helping them with their homework.” 

Staggs explains while his son misses his friends, their family is thankful for the organization’s steps to keep other families protected. Staggs hopes the assistance continues so other club families can find some relief. 

“By not donating, you’re hurting families that are similar to mine,” said Staggs. 

“My hope for those that we serve through Boys & Girls is at the end of these six weeks, and at the end of this time, they feel like the Boys & Girls Club family has supported them,” said Kronk. “[And that the club was] able to deliver a product that we feel really proud of and good of and allowed us to again support these families that don’t have their higher needs met right now.” 

To donate, click here.

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