SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- After a two-year long hiatus from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Springfield Boys and Girls Club Steak and Steak Dinner is back.

“It’s been a staple for 24 years, but we weren’t able to do it safely. I’m really excited to be back again tonight.” CEO Brandy Harris said.

It’s the group’s biggest fundraising event of the year.

“On average we probably bring in about $250,000 a year for this event. It’s a huge portion of our overall budget.” Harris said.

The money raised usually goes to general operating costs, but the money raised at Tuesday’s dinner will build towards something much bigger.

“We are planning to open the first middle and high school Boys and Girls Club in our community,” Harris said. “This is a very vulnerable population. We do not have a boys and girls club in this community that serves middle and high schoolers, and they absolutely need a safe space to go before and after school.”

Harris says a project like this can benefit an underserved part of the community.

“That there is 1,200 middle and high school youth in this community, in Springfield community that are unstable, housed. This means they don’t have a home address, they’re couch surfing, or they’re staying in friends or in garages.” Harris said. “If we don’t do something to connect these teens to resources and to remove barriers to access to opportunity, that story can look very different in the future. And it is our job as the club to help fill that gap.”

The featured speaker at the event, Head Basketball Coach Bill Self from the University of Kansas agrees.

“It won’t only impact the kids’ lives. It’ll pack those kids’ families’ lives. You know, it’s amazing to me the sacrifices people have to make to take care of kids after school and things like that.” Self said. “This is good. This is different. And, it’s not debatable whether or not it’s good for Springfield or good for kids. That’s not debatable.

Harris says any donation can go a long way.

“I get to see every single day what $10 actually does for a kid. That’s giving a kid a snack for two weeks like that. $10 is a lot.”