Orange, Texas, Boys & Girls Club maintains close connection with members
Although the normal daily operation of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Orange, Texas, has been put on pause, the club is maintaining a strong lifeline with its members.
The club closed since March 23 due to the COVID-19 crisis, but the staff is staying in touch with members at least once a week through program and food delivery. Members are receiving weekly program packets or care packages, specially delivered to their homes.
Staff members spent a week making phone calls and sending emails assessing the needs of members and then initiated continuance of the governmental after-school feeding program through the Texas Boys & Girls Club Alliance. Meals and snacks are being delivered to members each day.
“The amazing thing is that this program not just allows us to provide this food for our regular members but all other siblings younger than 18 within the home who may not attend the club regularly,” said Captain Frankie Zuniga, Orange corps officer.
“Right now, our kids are overwhelmed with online school and the loss of the club — and for many of them that was their place of security and home,” Captain Zuniga said. “Now more than ever, it’s evident the role The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Orange and its staff play within the lives of our club members. We’ve had many replies from parents who tell us one thing their child looks forward to each week is our visit. They wait expectantly for the club to stop by, and they can’t wait for that next packet. It continues to keep them connected to what many of them consider home.”
An example is a kindergarten-aged girl who eagerly waits for her counselor. “The first week she smiled from ear to ear as Mr. Joseph, her counselor, delivered her care package,” Captain Zuniga said. Another is a mother who has been so fearful of the virus, she keeps her three sons inside all day and never leaves to shop. “They have been barely making by, living on food she gets others to buy for her,” Captain Zuniga said. “It brought a moment of hope and joy this week as we dropped off food for her kids.” He added the staff wants mothers like her to know she hasn’t been forgotten in her fears.
“During this time of the pandemic — more than ever — our families need us, not for just physical needs, but also emotional. There have been many calls and texts as the parents help us understand what the kids need,” Captain Zuniga said. “They also have told us they’re glad they simply have someone there to listen and pray for them.”