MOUNT KISCO, N.Y -- The Food Bank for Westchester's ninth annual Hunger Heroes Awards, which recognizes select organizations and individuals for their outstanding efforts to end hunger, honored Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester.
The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester (BGCNW) received the 2014 Service Provider Hunger Heroes Award for integrating three key food programs for its youth members. Brian Skanes, executive director of the BGCNW, accepted the award on behalf of the club.
“I share this award with the Junior League of Northern Westchester,” Skanes said. “We have a tremendous relationship dating back many, many years.” With the help of the Junior League of Northern Westchester, The Food Bank for Westchester and generous donors, the club is able to operate three nutritious food programs in an effort to eliminate food insecurity: the Backpack program, the Food Bank for Westchester Kraft Mobile Food Pantry and Kids Café. The BGCNW, located in Mount Kisco, serves 1,700 youth annually – 80 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced school lunch. To meet the need for a quality meal program outside school walls, Skanes embarked on a year-long effort to raise money to install an industrial kitchen at the Club. Today, an average of 200 children per day and as many as 350 daily during the summer months are fed through Kids Café.
The BGCNW has also implemented the Backpack program, which provides children with easy-to-prepare food on weekends. Skanes’ focus on quality food programs later extended to the entire community in 2013, when the Food Bank’s Kraft Mobile Food Pantry began distributing fresh food to the club’s community residents. Currently, more than 80 families are assisted by the mobile pantry.