Finding New Ways to Care for Kids in the Community

When it became the safe and prudent decision to close the Boys & Girls Clubs in the Charlotte area, The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte’s leadership immediately turned its attention to determine the best way for Club staff to serve families impacted.

Boys & Girls Club staff began making calls and sending emails to check in on Club members and their families. Club leaders began developing new digital strategies to launch in an effort to continue to engage members and keep them on track to be productive in the digital classroom and to successfully navigate this unprecedented crisis.

But, it was in The Salvation Army’s active role participating with the local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) that an unorthodox need arose. Through this relationship, The Salvation Army is perfectly positioned to not only be aware of emerging needs, but to rise up to meet the challenge to serve the community where we are most needed.

That task looks a little different this week than it did a couple weeks ago.

Club staff members who are accustomed to planning activities, helping with homework and serving as mentors at our area Boys & Girls Clubs took on a new role: delivering much needed meals to children of first responders.

In the wake of the crisis, Mecklenburg County leaders quickly realized the urgent need to establish temporary child care centers for families of first responders and frontline workers. Working with the Parks and Recreation Department and the YMCA, they set up multiple childcare centers. The next problem to solve was feeding all of these children. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) has been a leader in ensuring children in Charlotte have access to daily meals. With that operation well organized and underway, the solution was simple. CMS could provide the meals, they just needed a way to get them from point A to point B.

Boys & Girls Club staff eagerly answered the call to serve.

“During times of crisis, The Salvation Army is always prepared to step up and meet needs,” said Major Larry Broome, leader of The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte. “We are ready and willing to serve in whatever role is needed to help our community get through this.”

“Deliveries are not the usual tasks for our Youth Development Professionals at the Boys & Girls Club,” added Marty Clary, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte. “However, we are all adjusting to a new way of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever we can do to ease the burden and serve kids in our community, we want to be a part of it.”

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