Feeding More Than Their Minds
To enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
For over 70 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Bergen County has been working with young people from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances, providing a safe place for them to go after school and during the summer, where they participate in life enhancing programs, learn life skills, get academic support, and have a healthy meal. The communities we serve have a higher than average percentage of families living at or below poverty levels, with 10.7% in Lodi and 12.9% in Hackensack. Most youth we serve come from low income households, live in HUD public housing complexes, qualify for free and reduced lunch, and struggle with food insecurity at home. Our Feeding More Than Their Minds program enables us to provide a healthy dinner during the school year, and healthy breakfast and lunch throughout the summer, daily, Monday through Friday, and at no cost to the children and teens at our Clubs. Last year, we provided 76,000 healthy meals to hungry children and teens!
Many children and teens we serve rely on the daily meals we provide. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has placed a tremendous financial burden on our organization. Due to mandatory Club closures since March 13th causing us to lose our largest revenue streams from bingo fundraisers and pool and facility rentals, as well as the necessary cancelation of our only annual special event fundraisers, this program is in jeopardy. Without funding, we face the decision of potentially having to cancel the program, begin charging a fee for snacks and meals which many families will be unable to pay, or cut back on another program. Despite club closures, we're currently providing daily grab to go meals. $25,000 from State Farm would enable us to continue Feeding More Than Their Minds, by providing the funds needed to purchase necessary supplies, pay cooking staff, which cost over $27,000 last year, and ultimately, continue this much-needed program, which provided 76,000 healthy meals to hungry kids last year.
10.7% of Lodi residents live at or below poverty level. Over 40% of our members come from low-income households and qualify for free or reduced lunch. 12.9% of Hackensack residents live at or below poverty level, and nearly 98% of our Club members live in the low-income HUD public housing complex where the Hackensack club resides. To make a greater impact on our community’s youth, we’ve implemented the Feeding More Than Their Minds program. Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Pediatrics, and the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry show that hunger greatly impacts a child’s performance and behavior, especially in school. “Hungry children have lower math scores. They are also are more likely to repeat a grade, come to school late, or miss it entirely” due to illness. We strive to improve the odds for our at-risk members, while providing the tools necessary for them to break the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient adults.