Community Partnership Provides Grab & Go Meals to Schenectady Families
Since day one of the COVID-19 pandemic and the announcement of the NY-Pause, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady (BGCS) has been there to support children, their families and the community. From March 15 through August 20, 2020, BGCS prepared and served over 32,000 meals in front of the new Adeline Graham Clubhouse, and with help from C.O.C.O.A. House and others, were able to make deliveries into the Schenectady and Rotterdam communities.
Less than 6 months later with the need growing, the Grab and Go Meals have again become necessary. As part of a community partnership with The Schenectady Foundation, The Wright Family Foundation, C.O.C.O.A. House, Save Our Streets, Mazzone’s Hospitality and more, BGCS is currently distributing between 300-375 nutritious dinners daily (doubled on Fridays for the weekend), at the Adeline Wright Graham and Rotterdam Clubs.
Before COVID-19, food insecurity was a very difficult issue for so many families in Schenectady. However, the restrictions caused by the pandemic have exacerbated the issue. With this in mind, a solution was crafted in conjunction with these incredible foundations and organizations. As a result, the daily distribution of hot meals came to fruition on February 8, 2021.
"Schenectady is resilient. When a need arises, we have an all hands-on-deck responsiveness, and a network of collaborative partners who work together to ensure that we meet that need" said Robert Carreau, Executive Director of The Schenectady Foundation.
Since re-starting this Grab & Go dinner program, BGCS and partners have distributed 12,305 meals (as of Friday, March 19). The meals are prepared by Mazzone’s Hospitality and delivered to distribution sites Monday through Friday. Meals are then safely picked up in a drive-through or walk-up style in front of the Adeline Wright Graham and Rotterdam Clubhouses with many also being delivered into the community by partners such as C.O.C.O.A. House. C.O.C.O.A. House Director William Rivas stated, “It is extremely important to meet the needs of the people, especially those living in poverty. This initiative gives us the chance to collaborate with each other and do this during a pandemic.”
The Schenectady Foundation and the Wright Family Foundation have provided the investment in this initiative to provide this much needed emergency service. Additionally, over the years both foundations have made significant investments in several Schenectady-based organizations and projects including the construction of the new Adeline Wright Graham Boys & Girls Club. Therefore, it was no surprise that when the community needed the most support, these two amazing foundations have stepped up.
"The best part about this is that years of cooperation between community leaders, activists, not-for-profits and foundations made this possible. We reached a lot more people as a result." said Chad Kilbourne, the Wright Family Foundation.
This Grab & Go dinner program is expected to continue through March.