Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

I hope this post finds you and your family safe and restored to power following Hurricane/Superstorm/All-Around-Not-Fun Sandy.

With no power, our school sites were completely unable to open for several days, but we know that we fared much better than our colleagues in the Boys & Girls Clubs in Atlantic City, Northern New Jersey and Queens. Our Orange County Clubs were closed through November 1, 2012 following the storm and our Sullivan Clubs were closed, with one notable exception, through today, November 4, 2012.

Since June 2012, our Fallsburg Teen Center has provided a safe place for local youth to gather safely in a supervised environment on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from 6-9 or 6-10pm (depending on whether or not it’s a school night). They play cards, video games, basketball and they have access to art projects, cooking classes and all of the traditional activities of a Boys & Girls Clubs.

The Teen Center has been tremendously well received by the local youth and the community, and I think that part of its immediate success is that each and every night the Teen Center is open, hot meals are served (totally free of charge). Fallsburg is one of, if not the most, food insecure communities in Sullivan County. The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life,” and in Fallsburg, many families are simply not able to provide enough or regular meals for their children, outside of what is provided at school.

So after having no power for four days, we figured our Fallsburg Club teens were pretty hungry and we decided to help with an emergency food drop. Thanks to generous donations from the Monticello Bagel Bakery, Dutch’s Tavern, several anonymous donors and (BGC Board member) Karen and Mike Fisher, we were able to provide 70 grocery bags of food for distribution at the Teen Center yesterday evening. The bags were bursting with with sandwiches, bagels, granola bars, crackers, cereal, bottled water and fresh fruit. While we focus on children and their families, no one was turned away .The 70 bags were gone in less than 1.5 hours and we’re making sure the Teen Center is open with BIG hot meals, starting tomorrow night.

I had a friend reach out to me as we prepped for the food drop who said, “Alexis, do you really thinking they’re hungry from being out of power for four days?” My reply was simply, “No, I think they’re hungry all the time. Four days at home with no school meals just exacerbated that situation.”

I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to the folks who volunteered product from their restaurant, or cash so we could buy staples for the emergency food drop. Your contributions provided nourishment for our Club kids and their families during this time of need.