Boys and Girls Clubs of West-Central Wisconsin Executive Director Karen DeSanto called the kitchen area of the Boys and Girls Club in Reedsburg “one of the most significant things” to the club. A $10,000 donation from the W.R. and Floy A. Sauey Family Foundation will help provide appliances necessary for the Kids Café food program, which DeSanto said will “turn the tide” in Reedsburg for any child who walks into the Boys and Girls Club.
Members of the Sauey Family as well as staff and board members of the Boys and Girls Club were present for a check presentation Dec. 13 at the Boys and Girls Club facility in Reedsburg.
DeSanto said one of the reasons Reedsburg started a Boys and Girls Club was to provide another opportunity for kids to get involved in an after school program. She said this not only decreases juvenile crime rates, but also addresses another growing problem in the Sauk County area-food insecurity.
“That means that our families and our kids don’t always have access to good nutritious foods and often the barrier is transportation they can’t get to stores on a regular basis,” DeSanto said. “They don’t get the nutrition they need. Quite frankly, it’s financial. Often schools feed our kids breakfast and lunch, but then they get nothing for dinners and nothing on the weekend and nothing on Christmas break.”
DeSanto said the Boys and Girls Clubs in Baraboo and Tomah have a Kids Café, which programs with Second Harvest to provide a nutritious hot meal to attendee’s everyday at the club. This is something Reedsburg facility didn’t provide when it opened in September due to the lack of facility and appliances. Instead, the club would provide nutritious food items that cannot be cooked, like fruit snacks granola bars.
The donation from the W.R. and Floy A. Sauey Family Foundation provided the opportunity for the Boys and Girls Club in Reedsburg with new appliances like a stove, freezers, a dishwasher and even removable cutting board tops for tables.
“We believe very much that healthy eating is important for children not only to grow, but to develop emotionally and intellectually,” Foundation President Alison S. Martin said.
DeSanto said the club hopes to have the facility in operation with a cook by the end of the year. The kitchen will provide more than an opportunity to keep children fed, but also teaching opportunities with food.
“We teach them how to cook and what to cook and how to shop and how to eat right so it’s through these partnerships to make sure that happens on a regular basis,” DeSanto said.
Currently, there are 150 members ages 7 through 18 at the Reedsburg Boys and Girls Club with an average of 60 to 75 daily attendees. DeSanto said the kids who attend the club are also excited about having a new high end kitchen. The Boys and Girls Club in Reedsburg also offers other program in music, technology, art, as well as games and a game room along with other programs. Volunteers and staff also help students with homework.
“What we are trying to do is create a little adult human from these little guys that we have every day,” she said. “If their day is good and everything is good and they get their work accomplished like the next day they can wake up better and happier.”
President of the Board of Directors for the Reedsburg Boys and Girls Club Tim Becker said the donation is one of many generous donations the club has received.
“The fact were able to outfit our kitchen now with commercial appliances is a blessing these,” Becker said. “(The) kids really deserve that.”