The funds the club had planned to use for the appliances will now be used for other needs for the children.
“The Boys & Girls Club approached me hoping I could help them get the most out of their limited budget to upgrade the kitchen at their Chelsea Club in Atlantic City,” Scot Sacks, vice president of Art Handler’s Appliance Center in neighboring Pleasantville, said. “We felt it was important to help support this organization and all they do for the children in Atlantic City, so we offered to provide the appliances free of charge.”
Part of the mission of the BGCAC is to feed nutritious meals to Atlantic City’s children at its three locations, including the Chelsea Club at 215 N. Sovereign Ave. The club feeds more than 150 children hot dinners nightly at the Penn Campus (the BGCAC Teen Center on Pennsylvania Avenue), where the organization’s industrial kitchen is located.
Up until now, however, the lack of a true kitchen prevented the organization from serving hot meals to the 80 school-age students attending the Chelsea Club. Although meals have been transported to the Chelsea Club, they are premade or refrigerated and cannot be heated up on site.
All that has changed now with the new appliances that arrived and were installed just prior to the start of the new school year, and the resulting influx of new Club Kids participating in the Chelsea Club’s after-school program. The donation includes GE professional range, refrigerator/freezer and microwave.
In addition to enabling children at the Chelsea Club to receive hot meals, the commercial refrigerator and freezer also allow the Sovereign Avenue location to house fresh produce grown in its organic garden. Located at the Club’s Penn Campus and developed through a partnership with Reed’s Organic Farm in Egg Harbor Township, this garden yields crops including melon, kale, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and more. The additional refrigeration and storage space will allow for harvested ingredients to stock the Chelsea Club. The produce can then be used as nutritious snacks for the children and also in hands-on kitchen activities where students are learning how to handle and prepare produce in various recipes.
“We are so grateful for this generous donation from Art Handler’s Appliance Center and cannot emphasize enough how beneficial it is to our club now and in the future, and to the children and teens who attend our activities,” Charles Wallace II, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City, said. “Food insecurity in Atlantic City is among the highest in our state. Nearly 90% of the kids served by the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches. By providing healthy food and opportunities for the future, our organization helps kids break the cycle of poverty.”