A Boys & Girls Club message
Submitted By: Jodi Martin, Boys & Girls Club of Livingston County
Over the past month, our nation, our State and our County has faced a myriad of uncertainties as we grapple with the impact coronavirus has had on our lives and those around us. Our ability as a nation to put aside our differences and help our fellow man is something to be celebrated and not forgotten.
I have the honor of witnessing the difference people can make in their communities firsthand every day as the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Livingston County. We know the uncertainties our kids face every day would get even worse as this public health crisis grew. Our kids already face the uncertainty of where their next meal will come from. Some face gaps in educational attainment and achievement. The families we serve already struggle with accessing childcare. You could only imagine how this pandemic heightens those uncertainties.
The Boys & Girls Club of Livingston County’s commitment to not only the youth we serve but our community as a whole only gets stronger in times of crisis. We recognized that this pandemic was going to have devastating effects throughout our area and that we as local leaders were uniquely positioned to do all we could to help. It’s why we responded to the request made by the President & CEO of OSF Healthcare to provide critical services that the employees of our local hospital, health care providers, utility providers, police departments, fire departments, ambulance services, Emergency Medical Technicians, Prison & Jail and businesses have a safe place for their children during the day.
We are serving Breakfast, Lunch & Snack daily and have provided food for families that haven't been able to attend through outside pick-up and have stayed open from March 18th to current. We are providing daily virtual programming for members that can’t attend the Club but can participate on a daily basis. We closed two days on the 16th & 17th of March for sanitation and staff training to prepare for the Pandemic and are remaining open as long as it takes.
But that resolve can only get us so far as we face lost revenue and financial instability as demand for our services increases. And we’re not the only nonprofit facing a financial quandary of how we can continue to provide critical services and aid to our community while also keeping our doors open, staff compensated, and resources stocked. This crisis includes laid-off workers, hard-hit industries and low-income families. I can’t stress enough the dire support non-profits such as ours need if we are to not only continue to serve our community but help our communities recover once this is over. It’s not just how we respond to a crisis; it’s how we rebuild following it.
I urge every member of our community to reach out to their members of Congress and tell them to provide relief for charities in their responses to COVID-19. By speaking with a united voice, together we can ensure that the youth development, health and community-building programs in our area and across the nation continue to be supported and our communities can continue to thrive.
Nonprofits are a constant and comforting presence during crises and will continue to be, but we can’t do it without the support of our community and elected officials. Please tell your members of Congress: Nonprofits support us in times of need, let’s support them in theirs. We are the 4th largest county in the State with very rural communities, raising dollars during normal circumstance is a challenge, add the loss of job wages, businesses not able to open, we are facing an even greater challenge raising local dollars.
United Way of Livingston County is a great resource and partner and knows all the agencies that are providing services in our community. It is my hope that all of our non-profits in Livingston County can get funding at the State and National Level.
Thank you for believing in the Boys & Girls Club, many of you have provided food for us, even cooked meals and delivered, we are so thankful for all that you do for us now and in the future!