The Boys and Girls Club of Moncton serves meals to its members six times a week, including special holiday celebrations like the Thursday night Christmas dinner.
Meals are prepared in a small kitchen using two residential ovens.
“The kitchen we’re in right now is very residential and just not designed for what we need,” program services director Ashton Beardsworth said in an interview.
“We do our best, we have our staff and our volunteers doing amazing things with what we have but we want to do more and we want to serve more people,” she said.
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Executive director Moncef Lakouas told PKBNEWS that demand for meals has increased in recent years.
“What we serve today in terms of healthy meals and snacks is far superior to what we did in the past,” he said.
“We are still using household appliances to cook for 100 children a day, which is unrealistic.”
The organization launched a $300,000 fundraising campaign on its website to expand its kitchen to feed more children and launch a cooking skills education program.
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She said that beyond kitchen space issues, some of the programs they offer take place offsite because they outgrow their building.
Lakouas said the club helps around 1,200 children and young people a year with everything from tutoring to onboarding programs for newcomers, and simply provides a safe space to have fun.
It is largely funded by donations from the community and parents pay a small annual fee.
“We have seen phenomenal growth in our services since the pandemic, and also because we are welcoming many newcomers to Moncton,” said Lakouas.
“What I hate the most is turning away some families or telling the kids there’s no place for them here, so we’re looking at options eventually to expand.”
He said that beyond the issue of space, there are other challenges currently preventing an expansion, such as the need for more staff.
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