TANEY COUNTY, Mo. — The Boys and Girls Club of the Ozarks struggling to offer its programs to help kids because of the pandemic.
The CEO of the non-profit says they are having trouble when the shutdown began in March 2020 and they were out helping kids.
“Focused on virtual programming, on doing distributions, food distributions at all three of our sites at Taney and Stone counties,” said Stoney Hays, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Ozarks. “We also made a number of wellness calls to families, as we know, a lot of children are not necessarily safe at home.”
When the Club opened back up to the public this summer, new safety precautions had to be implemented because of COVID-19, which equated to a huge loss of income.
“We’re probably going to fall about $600,000 short by the end of the year,” said Hays. “So, we have to take drastic measurements, including both staff reduction and potentially shorter hours for service to kids.”
Those services for children include an afterschool program that working mothers like Kristal Black rely on every day.
“I know that there are lots of families out there that are both working parents that don’t even have the option of them being able to come to work with them or that sort of thing,” said Black. “They are too young to stay at home. So, I think in our community, it would be pretty devastating if the Boys and Girls Club left.”
Black says she couldn’t imagine sending her five children anywhere else.
“Even if there was another option, I would pick the Boys and Girls Club,” said Black. “Even when they’re old enough to stay home by themselves, I will pick the Boys and Girls Club.”
Hays says they are starting a new program to help raise funds locally.
“We’ll start at $2,500 for five people to celebrate Crates for Kids. And it’ll go to 10,000 dollars for ten people to celebrate. With the hopes that we will continue to be able to serve the children here in Taney and Stone county.”
These crates will have things such as maple syrup, wine, Bluetooth speakers and more.
To donate to the Boys and Girls Club, you can do so on its website.