New Grant to Renovate Boys & Girls Club Kitchen
Source: Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara
John Votava, Director of Corporate Affairs at Ralph’s, called the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara (BGCSB) at the beginning of the year and asked how his company could help. He was told that one of the main priorities of the Club in 2020 was to renovate their commercial kitchen and launch a self-sufficient free meal program. A few weeks later, BGCSB came closer to reaching their goal with a generous $45,000 grant from the Kroger Company Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation. This grant was made possible by a partnership between Kroger, Ralph’s, Food 4 Less, and their generous customers and employees.
For eighty-two years, the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara has provided a safe, educational and affordable space for quality after-school and summer youth programs. One of the crucial services the Club provides is daily access to healthy meals. During the school year they serve light after-school meals and cook a healthy breakfast, lunch and snack for their nine-week summer program. The kitchen is used for a weekly teen cooking class and events like a Community Thanksgiving dinner and a Breakfast with Santa. Their kitchen hasn’t seen any updates in over 20 years and the building itself was first built in 1947.
Last year, BGCSB served 27,528 after-school and summer meals to low-income children in the community. With a newly updated kitchen space, the Boys & Girls Club can help more working families. “A pivotal part of our programming is making sure all kids not only have a safe place to go but also have daily access to healthy meals. With an upgrade, the kitchen can be used to its full potential and we can expand programs with partners like the Foodbank,” said Katelyn Kirchner, the BGCSB Program Director. About 87% of children at BGCSB are from low-income families and for these kids, access to affordable and healthy meals is essential. The total renovation project with new kitchen appliances is estimated to cost $150,000 and BGCSB is almost halfway to reaching that goal thanks in large part to the generosity of Ralph’s, Food 4 Less, Kroger, and additional donors.
To learn more about the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara, their efforts to help local families, and how you can help, you can visit www.boysgirls.org or call them at (805) 962-2382.