Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, West Hawaii Today is publishing a story about individuals, groups or organizations that have helped make life better for others in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island (BGCBI) has adapted its traditional youth development programming services and evolved to implement resources that struggling families, children, and communities need.
When public schools closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, many income-challenged households and families lost a crucial support network that provided children with in-person academic learning, educational tools and resources, breakfast and lunch supplementation, and public transportation that allowed youth to access the needed daily school-based resources.
BGCBI identified these pandemic-related socioeconomic challenges and developed supplemental support, through its Mobile Youth Outreach and community meals programs, that provides assistance for many who otherwise would be going without.
“We know that transportation, to be able to access support services, is a major barrier for families that are struggling. No cost community resources can be offered by social-service agencies, but if the household is unable to secure the transportation needed, the support opportunity will not be accessible,” CEO Chad M.K. Cabral wrote in an update.
Throughout the pandemic, BGCBI has brought academic support direct to homes — working closely with families to schedule one-on-one tutoring help and providing homework assistance, distance learning technology, and critical resources — and delivered daily nutritional supplementation.
Currently, the nonprofit’s “Mobile Youth Outreach” teams support communities in Hilo, Kea‘au, Pahoa, Pahala-Ka‘u, Ocean View, Kealakehe and South Kona. Each day, units drive to scheduled home locations and “pop-up” their learning resource stations, ready to assist community youth.
In addition to the Mobile Youth Outreach programming, the nonprofit has served more than 150,000 hot meals since March 2020 to keiki, kupuna, family housing programs, homeless families and rural area households that have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Each day, approximately 870 individual hot meals are produced and delivered by BGCBI.
For more information, to volunteer or contribute to Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island, visit www.bgcbi.org.
Know a Hometown Hero who should be highlighted next Wednesday? It can be anybody, from a youngster doing good for the community, to a professional helping with the COVID-19 pandemic, or even a kupuna! Please send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Hometown Heroes Nomination. Please include the hero’s name, contact information and what makes them a hero.