The Boys & Girls Club of Boone County’s Meal Program, established in mid-March, has become an essential Boone County program with an increasing daily need. Since county schools moved to eLearning and the statewide shelter in place order was issued, the organization staff and volunteers have served nearly 6,000 meals in-total, drive through style, to members of the community who have found themselves financially challenged.
Each day an average 250 hot meals are now planned and served. Boys & Girls Club of Boone County leaders estimate it will take at least $50,000 to fully fund the program through the end of May, when the school year traditionally ends. Club leadership is committed to ensuring community members who are financially challenged receive at least one hot meal a day and are asking for the community’s support on Giving Tuesday, May 5.
The Indiana Department of Education estimates about 40% of school-aged children in Lebanon are economically disadvantaged. Boone County’s unemployment rate was at 2.2% in February. The latest data from March shows statewide unemployment was 9.8%.
Prior to schools moving to eLearning to ensure student health and safety, the Lebanon Club served about 100 youth daily through a program funded by the Department of Education. The funds are no longer available because the Boys and Girls Club of Boone County has closed facilities in compliance with the State of Indiana Executive Order. The three Clubs in the county are slated to safely reopen in June.
“Our staff and volunteers are committed to ensuring the basic needs of youth in our county by providing a hot meal each day,” says Mark Branch, CEO Boys & Girls Club of Boone County. “Our team and volunteers are doing a fantastic job each daily fulfilling the need. We’re asking for community support to continue this program through May.”
The average cost of a hot meal including supplies is $4 per person per day. The team is serving an average of 250 people each day. The Meal Program began in mid-March with a grant of $5,000 from the Community Foundation of Boone County. Several generous businesses have donated food for youth and families too. To fully fund the cost of food and supplies for the Meal Program through the end of May will take up to $50,000. Gifts will be matched up to $20,000 thanks to a generous matching donor.
The Club also needs volunteers each evening to pack meals for the program. Business owners that want to provide donated food/meals or sponsor meals also are needed to sustain the program. Contact Katie Reasoner, resource development director, for more information and details.
“Thank you to each and every business and organization that has supported the Meal Program since we started in mid-March. We could not do this without you,” says Reasoner.
The Boone County Community Foundation, Zionsville Presbyterian Church, United Way of Central Indiana, Fitzmark, Global Plastics, Backroads BBQ, Boone County REMC Round Up Program, Lebanon Christian Church, Otterbein United Methodist Church, Northview Church, Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering, Chik-Fil-A, Panera Bread, Second Helpings, Campbell’s, Milky Way, Noah Grant’s, Zionsville Youth Soccer Association, Boone County Chamber of Commerce, Zionsville Chamber of Commerce, Centier Bank, Meijer, Purity Wholesale Groceries and Duke Energy.
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