Our commitment to creating safe, equitable and engaging Club experiences for ALL young people is always our number one priority.
The future prosperity of our young people and the communities Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities (BGCTC) serves depends on our organization’s ability to mobilize now to ensure that all young people have meaningful opportunities to succeed in school and life. The mission of BGCTC is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Clubs provide a fun, safe and constructive environment for kids and teens during out-of-school hours. They offer programs and services to help young people succeed in school, develop leadership skills, maintain healthy lifestyles, and build career aspirations for the future.
High poverty levels and academic achievement gaps existed in the Twin Cities community pre-COVID and have grown exponentially in the last six months. The COVID-19 pandemic, layered with the horrific death of George Floyd and the resounding call for justice and an examination of how systemic racism has and continues to affect people of color in our country, has magnified inequities with an overwhelming impact. BGCTC recognizes the deep pain and feelings of fatigue over injustices Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities face every day and we remain committed to fighting against racism and inequities wherever and however they exist.
As we begin to reopen our Clubs, there is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our youth and families. Clubs are a safe space, and we remain committed to championing inclusivity, equity, and opportunity for our young people. Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility to do better by our young people, to speak up for them, and provide them a platform where their voices can be heard and be part of the much-needed systemic change in our nation . Today, and every day, we stand in peace and unity with the communities we serve.
Strengthening Supports to Youth and Families
Boys & Girls Clubs Twin Cities has a responsibility during this time to continue strengthening supports for our families as they face ongoing, intensified challenges with school closures, work disruptions, and potential illness and health concerns. We continue to connect with each one of our families to make sure they have the supports they need while also working in small virtual and in-person teams to strengthen and enhance curriculum, lesson plans, and general Club operations. We continue to work very closely with technical partners to ensure appropriate and equitable access to connectivity, to support our members academics through virtual learning and also provide supplemental relationships and social-emotional support through virtual delivery of BGCTC programs. We also continue to work with food distributors, grocers and restaurants to provide strengthened food support.
Despite the fact that we’ve had to make changes to how we operate on a daily basis and need to continue practicing social distancing until further notice, BGCTC staff members continue to work closely with our families and one another to develop enhanced program models that ensure best practices and action plans to support our young people, families, and our community. This also better equips our organization for the anticipated greater need that will present itself once we are able to fully reopen all Club locations.
BGCTC’s COVID-19 response efforts include:
- Family wellness check-ins. BGCTC staff members continue to connect with each of our families to make sure they have the supports they need during this difficult time. These calls focus on immediate needs related to shelter, food, technology needs, and medical care.
- Connection to and distribution of food. BGCTC has been working diligently with food distributors, grocers, and restaurants to provide weekly meal packages for our families and connect families to additional nutrition resources.
- Delivery of youth development programs as a distance learning model. This includes K-12 academic support, ensuring digital connectivity and distribution of education materials and supplies to youth and families.
- Southside Village Food Pantry. On June 1, BGCTC converted our Southside Village Club into a pop-up free food and supplies pantry serving families lacking access to grocery stores and transportation. The food pantry served 2,700 shoppers from June 1 to August 7.
- Two BGCTC Club sites (Mt. Airy & Jerry Gamble) reopened for a summer session July 6 – August 14 with small-group, full-day inperson youth programming for grades K-5 members identified as high need for focused academic support.
- Five BGCTC Club sites (Jerry Gamble, Southside Village, Mt. Airy, East Side, and Al Lenzmeier West Side) reopened September 14 with small-group, full day in-person youth programming for both teen members and grades K-8 members identified as high need for focused academic support. This is an expansion of Club program hours, as our typical schedule is after school hours during the school year, with full day programming on school release days and during the summer.
family wellness check-ins conducted March 18 - August 7
total meals served April 1 - August 7
total virtual experiences March 18 - August 7
Standing for Equity and Social Justice
In addition to COVID-19, our communities have also recently experienced the horrific death of George Floyd, and the resounding call for justice and an examination of how systemic racism has and continues to affect people of color in our country. The future of our nation rests in the hands of our young kids and teens – young people who are watching the news and their social media feeds, overhearing their parents’ conversations, worrying for their world, and looking for mentoring and support. The work we do at the Clubs is part of the change that is needed in our country. BGCTC has always been at the forefront of change, and we are committed to providing our young people a platform where their voices can be heard and be part of the solution.
BGCTC is committed to inclusivity, equity, and opportunity for ALL youth, as well as championing policies and practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, and equitable organization.Cultural equity embodies the values, policies, and practices that ensure that all people —including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion—are represented in the development and implementation of youth programs; the fair financial and supervisory support of staff; and the leadership of the organization.
We’re activating to address food insecurities in our communities.
These are incredibly challenging times. The impact of COVID-19 layered with the senseless death of George Floyd has been overwhelming for everyone, and deeply painful for those who face injustices every day. BGCTC has activated to advance food security in our communities as part of a multi-faceted response plan and ongoing commitment to provide resources that support caregivers as well as children.
Southside Village Pop-Up Free Food and Supplies Pantry
With many retailers already closed due to COVID, property damage resulting from unrest in the weeks following the tragic death of George Floyd left many Minneapolis residents with reduced access to fresh and healthy food. Stores and retailers closest to 38th and Chicago – the site of George Floyd’s death – were most heavily impacted, and the surrounding neighborhoods struggled with a lack of nutritious food options in the weeks that followed.
On June 1, BGCTC converted our Southside Village Club into a pop-up free food and supplies pantry serving families who were disproportionately impacted by the confluence of traumatic events and lacked access to grocery stores and transportation. The Club – located at 39th and Chicago – opened its doors each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11am to 4pm. Volunteers assisted each family in selecting essential food staples, personal care, and childcare products. Until its closure on August 7, the Southside Village pantry served up to 100 families per day.
shoppers served June 1 - August 7
total volunteers June 1 - August 7
Family Meal Kits
Beginning April 1, BGCTC offered free weekly meal packages to Club families to address the increased food insecurities kids and families faced with work disruptions and school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This expanded meal program – Family Meal Kits – provided boxes of pre-sorted meal components that were distributed at eight Club locations each Wednesday. From April 1 until the program’s end on August 7, BGCTC distributed a total of 167,640 meals.
meals served in Clubs per week prior to closures
families served per week April 1 - August 7
meals served per week April 1 - August 7
Weekend Family Meal Program
Based on feedback from our Club families, there are limited food security nutrition resources at the present time in the communities we serve. While there was an initial outpouring of community donations to BGCTC and other short-term food distribution efforts in the Southside neighborhood, donations are beginning to trail off at a time when the needs of families are intensified beyond the burden of COVID-related impact. Starting September 18, in response to this intensified need, BGCTC will launch a new Weekend Family Meal Program that will provide weekend food security – 128 meals per family to 400 families through December 27.
Thank You to our COVID-19 Response Community Partners!
The generous contributions received from these partners are helping our organization address new and growing needs among our communities and expand services to families in this critical time.
- A1 Landscaping
- Asian Foods/Sysco
- Aspen Waste
- Best Buy Foundation
- Bobby & Steve’s Autoworld
- Capital Maintenance
- Concrete Coating
- Cub Foods
- Fixed Assets
- Fountain of Life Church – Minneapolis
- Grandma’s Bakery
- Harminder Mashiana
- Harry & Jan Sweere Foundation
- Harvard Maintenance
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters
- Jerry & Diane Carlson
- Jim and Sue Franklin
- The Joel & Teresa Pfister Foundation
- Kowalski’s Markets
- MATTERbox Snack Packs
- McNeely Foundation
- The Minneapolis Foundation
- Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach Ryan Saunders and wife Hayley
- Minnesota Vikings and the Wilf Family
- Otto Bremer Trust
- Papa John’s Pizza
- Polaris Industries
- Pratt Industries & Minnesota Corrugated Box, Inc.
- Reinhart Foodservice
- Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
- Sonance Foundation
- Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
- Teamsters Local 320
- Teamsters Local 471
- Union Pacific Foundation
- US Foods
Your support is needed, now more than ever.
Every day, BGCTC’s targeted approach to reduce academic, health, and economic disparities is activated through a comprehensive program model. We have a responsibility to our youth and to our community to deliver holistic programming that makes an impact — one that extends beyond the walls of the Club to shape exceptional adults ready to reach their full potential as healthy, productive, and compassionate citizens. We have invested in a transformational and inclusive program model that supports essential skill building and academic achievement from kindergarten through post-secondary. Providing access and opportunities go hand in hand with setting goals and having high expectations for every young person while ensuring every Club senior graduates on time with a plan for the future.
BGCTC is intentional in our community partnerships and collaborations to promote equity and create systemic change. We also realize that a family-centered approach is critical to our work to create systems change. As an organization, we have moved over incredible hurdles over the past six months. BGCTC staff pivoted, collaborated, and found new channels for delivering our work to ensure kids, teens, and families were at the center of focused efforts. Through the challenges, already strong Club relationships with the families have become even stronger.
As we look to 2021 and beyond, we know that we need to increase our resources and supports in building stronger and more equitable program opportunities for an expanding number of young people. We will continue to respond to the changing economic climate and resulting growth in education, health and income disparities by increasing accessibility to high quality experiences, activities, and resources so EVERY young person is on target to reach their full potential.
Many nonprofit agencies are facing financial disruption because of COVID-19, putting serious pressure on operating budgets. BGCTC is living this uncertainty right now. That is why your support is needed now more than ever. We ask that you consider walking alongside our organization during this challenging time by making a gift to support our continued efforts and the continued needs of our kids and families.
Together, We Are Stronger!