At Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, we do whatever it takes to activate and advance the potential in our youth so that they have great futures. When COVID-19 necessitated closures of our Clubhouses and programs we immediately jumped into action to stay connected to our families, youth and the communities we serve.
Upon calling and communicating via email with over 1,000 members so far from our stand alone Clubhouses, we determined that 45% of our families needed cleaning supplies, 35% needed basic hygiene supplies and another 25% needed water and groceries. This is an ongoing process and we expect to reach an additional 1,000 families by the end of the month. Our staff mobilized plans quickly to meet these needs and have launched a number of new initiatives including grab and go lunch sites, food and pantry delivery service, making and delivering cleaning & hygiene buckets and launching the InstaClubhouse with daily LIVE and pre-recorded lessons for K-7 students, teens and our Career Works, youth workforce development program members. In addition to these activities we are re-opening our Estelle S. Campbell Clubhouse for Essential Personnel from Allegheny County.
Cleaning & Hygiene Buckets
More than anything, our families expressed the need for cleaning and hygiene supplies. With financial support from many individual private donors, The Heyward House: The Cameron Heyward Foundation, North Allegheny Lions and allocation of cleaning supplies and additional financial donation from Lowe’s Home Improvement, we are making 700 cleaning & hygiene buckets to distribute and deliver to families as well as give some to our community partners who need them for seniors without access. District Manager & BGCWPA Central Board Member, Ken Haines really went the extra mile, literally, by going to Charleston, WV to get alcohol for hand sanitizer. In Carnegie, Distillery Quantum Spirits custom made the cleaning liquid for the buckets. With hygiene kits built at our United Steelworkers Day of Caring and donations from Kimberly Clark we are immediately able to fill this need.
Grab & Go Sites
We’ve partnered with school districts like Shaler Area School District and West Mifflin Area School District as well as Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, 412 Food Rescue and local churches to distribute over 15,000 take and go lunches, so far.
Food Delivery & Pantry
Single moms in need, families who have lost their employment and teens have reached out with emergency needs for food and pantry items. We’ve used our vans to locate these items and deliver within hours of the requests and will be hosting two pop-up pantry days in April at our Estelle S. Campbell & Millvale Clubhouses. A sweet delivery is also on the way this week with help from our alumni and friend, Marty Griffin at Sparkt Pittsburgh, Sarris Candies has donated 700 chocolate eggs for our kids!
We offer support to our members in the form of academic programs, homework help, wellness, STEM programs and more. Within the last few weeks, we have offered daily LIVE and pre-recorded activities and videos recorded, edited and posted by our staff to stay in touch with our members. Within the last few weeks, we have had 7,350 views!
Whether our Career Works teens got to just simply check-in on each other, learn about careers or practice interviews, build a garden at home or practice wellness during COVID-19, we’ve been able to keep continuity and connections going! Our teen members have been engaging with our pre-recorded activities and videos focused on a variety of topics like yoga, STEM, life skills and SAT/ACT Test Prep. Our younger members have gotten some tips about exercising while at home, learned about shadows, and lots of fun STEM activities about gears, computational thinking, the water cycle, or making bubbles!
COVID-19 Specialty Day Camp
BGCWPA will be providing fun activities, academic programming and care for school-aged youth beginning soon for essential personnel from Allegheny County (County employees only at this time) at our Estelle S. Campbell Clubhouse in Lawrenceville. This program will be available Monday – Friday from 6 AM – 7:30 PM throughout the duration of school closures. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided daily. This service will be available at no cost in an effort to support our crucial County workers and their families during this trying time.
Soon we will be ready for our summer day camp, learn & earn program, specialty STEM camps in partnership with Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy and Thermo Fisher Scientific and Artificial Intelligence Pathways Institute. Until then, we have truly enjoyed being immersed in our communities with our relief efforts.
We would like to thank each and every one of our supporters at this time who have made these activities possible. We have received financial support from our members themselves, staff, the children of our staff, board members, friends and the community at large. As of April 3rd, our relief efforts have raised $11,000
If you want to help us expand these efforts, our kids, their families and staff would greatly appreciate it!