When a community is faced with a pandemic like COVID-19, closing schools and after school programs can lead to a ripple effect of negative consequences that might not even occur to some. Believe it or not, one in six children struggles with hunger in Nebraska*, meaning these daily programs are essential for the survival of struggling families trying to put food on the table.
Luckily, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Omaha has partnered with Cubby’s Convenience Stores to provide 1,000 sack lunches per day to families that might otherwise go without.
According to Tom Kunkel, CPO of BGCO, “the school districts and the Food Bank had done a really good job helping to cover the breakfast and lunch for kids and families, but there were still some gaps in the evening meal, which was where we would normally fit in. That is when we decided to see if we could provide an evening meal distribution to our members,” who had been unable to access clubs since March 13th. Kunkel had some difficulty finding a local source of produce and supplies at his initial inquiry, so when Cubby’s stepped in to provide meals for the organization at cost, they began distributing meals to hundreds of families from eight of their fourteen locations. In their first three nights, according to Kunkel, the clubs served 2,242 meals and continue to do so daily from 5-7pm.
De Lone Wilson, President of Cubby’s, has been participating daily in the organization and distribution process. He said, “We have worked on past projects with the The Boys and Girls Clubs and when they reached out looking for a partner we didn’t hesitate to help. At our Old Market store all sandwiches are made fresh so we didn’t need to contact any vendor. We’re able to provide the food at cost. I visited with our Executive Chef, Sherri Summers and Store Director, Zach Hennings to be sure we were capable of this daily effort with no determined end date – both were eager to get started and staffed up with employees and rounded up some volunteers. Within a couple of days we’re up to speed and making and delivering 750 to 1,000 meals a day, five days a week. We are happy to have the resources to help”.
Having these pickup locations available has also helped the BGCO stay in touch with the community they love to serve. Kunkel said, “just having some sort of contact is important. We’re practicing social distancing and wearing gloves and masks and minimizing contact,” while providing a quick drive-thru service where families can take home 5-6 meals that will get them through the night. As we adapt to our new normal amidst COVID-19, Kunkel said, “having just one way that we can try to help some of the most vulnerable families in our community is really important, and Cubby’s is right there next to us helping to do that.”
For information on how to donate or to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Omaha and join the fight against hunger in Nebraska, visit www.bgcomaha.org/donations.
Cubby’s Convenience Store, a staple of Downtown Omaha, is open to help serve the tightly knit area and its residents for groceries, including meat and fresh produce.