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St. Anthony and Area Boys and Girls Club faces challenges with meal program

Hayden Parsons and Kayden Clarke make slime during the slime workshop.
Hayden Parsons and Kayden Clarke make slime during the slime workshop. - Submitted

Organization needs more community support after Co-op closure

ST. ANTHONY, NL. – The St. Anthony and Area Boys and Girls Club is hoping to continue its After School Snack Program, but it faces challenges since the closure of the Grenfell Co-op.

For the past several years, the Co-op had provided gift cards to the Boys and Girls Club to use for the program.

But, in February, it closed its doors for the final time.

Without the Co-op, the club is having to rely on fundraisers and for the community’s support.

Club executive director Colleen Loder says it’s important that children have a nutritional snack at the end of the school day.

Kelly Pilgrim, Hannah Rowbottom and Heidi Carpenter make slime. - Submitted
Kelly Pilgrim, Hannah Rowbottom and Heidi Carpenter make slime. - Submitted

“By that time, they’re very high energy; they’ve had a full day of school,” she said.

Therefore, at the club, they have their snack immediately after school and then they’re ready for their recreational and arts programs through the rest of the afternoon.

However, Loder says food for the program costs the club about $600 per month or $7,200 per year.

While the club still had fundraisers, the gift cards from the Co-op used to handle most of that cost for them.

Loder says losing the Co-op’s sponsorships, in addition to recent cuts in funding to the Boys and Girls Club, will make it difficult for the club to continue the program.

“It’s going to carry an extra burden, for sure, for the club,” she said.

During the evening, the club also teaches older youth how to prepare nutritional meals.

They’ll need extra funding to do that as well.

Over the past two months, Loder says they have been able to take advantage of the Co-op’s final 30 per cent off for members sale.

“We bought what we could in bulk from them, to carry us a little while,” she said.

Loder estimates the supply from that sale will last them another “month or so.”

They have also received some donations from parents.

Loder says there are a number of original ideas to raise money as well.

For instance, youth aged 12-18, in the Keystone leadership program, have already organized a slime workshop fundraiser themselves. They raised $270, plus snacks were donated.

Another fundraiser, a colour run, is scheduled for June. They’ll have a walk/run from the club to Fishing Point Park and back, with participants being doused with different colour powders along the way.

The deadline for registration will be prior to the end of May.

Loder adds that organizing fundraisers is difficult with such a small staff.

“I think what we really need is the community and some of the parents to actually take on some of the fundraising,” she said.

“We’re on a bit of a cry for that, that’s for sure. It’s just a monstrous task.”

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca

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