Kids who are hungry struggle to study, focus on others and concentrate on tasks at hand. That’s why, in 2012, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell started our Healthy Meals program. Each evening after school, our Club members can enjoy a hot, nutritious dinner prepared in-house by our Nutrition Manager Sally Thayer. For most of our members (96% of whom live in low income households), this is their most complete, nutritious meal of the day. For many, sadly, without this meal they might not have dinner at all.
Ten year old Seth said this about the Healthy Meals program “I have dinner at the Club whenever I am here. Sally is a good cook, she cares a lot about everybody. I like the dinner at the Club because at home I normally don’t get dinner.”
Since the program started, it has grown rapidly. These days, Sally serves over 250 children dinner each day. In 2017, over 54,000 healthy meals were served (an increase of 20,000 meals since 2012). The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program helped meet the growing demands of our kitchen by funding the purchase of a new, larger refrigerator, and a new freezer. Our kitchen did not have a freezer in the past, which created inefficiencies in ordering food. In addition, our Club now has a professional blender to whip up smoothies for our “Healthy Habits” program. While our Healthy meals program is largely focused on reducing food insecurity, our goal is to teach healthy eating habits at the same time. Programs like “Healthy Habits” are designed to support that goal. With our new refrigerator, freezer and blender, our Healthy Meals program is poised to serve even more meals in 2018.
The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell serves a diverse population of youth ages 7 – 18 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Our mission is “to inspire and enable young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.” Thanks to community support like the Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program, 1,500 young people in Lowell have a safe place to be after school, where they can build healthy relationships with positive adult role models, and seek opportunities to break the cycle of poverty.
Charity: Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell