With schools across the state closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley opened its doors to impacted families to provide child care.
Many of the clubs in Maricopa County expanded their hours to care for children of working parents.
Capacity is limited and priority is being given to children of health care employees, public safety, state workers and other essential workers, according to Cassidy Campana, a spokeswoman with Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley.
She said children will be provided a pre-packaged breakfast, lunch and a snack throughout the day. The attendees will have a relatively normal day of activities, with enhanced safety and cleaning precautions added to protect against the spread of the virus.
“We know our members well and know that many don’t have access to other child care options. So, even though it was a significant decision because it involves our staff and is a financial risk, we felt strongly that we had to be there and be a safety net and help the kids get meals and a safe place to stay while their parents or caretakers are out working,” Campana said.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced emergency funding on March 15 to support the expanded services.
“Today we announced a two-week closure of Arizona schools, and our office will be working closely with partners in the nonprofit, faith-based and education communities—such as the Boys & Girls Club—to make available child care options and assistance to families who need it. My sincere thanks to the Boys & Girls Clubs Arizona Alliance and everyone working to protect public health and support each other at this time. We will continue to work together—the government, nonprofits and the private sector—to do all we can to keep kids and families safe and healthy,” Ducey said.
Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley is also soliciting donations. With the extra staff, equipment and procedures needed to run safely and efficiently, Campana said the clubs are running at a cost of about 150% compared to normal.
“We run a very tight budget, and we’re asking staff to be available at additional hours, and we’re just not budgeted to do that. It’s a big financial risk to us, and it’s a large expense. Plus, the additional janitorial efforts and supplies. We really need all the help we can get,” she said.
The organization is urging families to try and find a way to stay home with children if at all possible, as the CDC and other health organizations have preached social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Children that exhibit symptoms will not be permitted entry.
Annual youth (ages 6-12) membership dues are $30. Monthly school-year youth program fees are just $25 per month in most Phoenix/West Valley clubs. Annual teen membership dues are $15. There are no monthly fees for teens.
Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley locations include:
• Louis & Elizabeth Sands Branch, 4730 W. Grovers Avenue, Glendale, 602-375-0400.
• Swift Kids Branch,
6420 W. Maryland Avenue, Glendale; 623-939-6952.
• Jerry and Helen Wisotsky Peoria Branch; 11820 N. 81st Avenue, Peoria; 623-979-3559.
• Ed Robson Branch, 15815 N. 59 th Avenue, Phoenix; 602-449-2850.
• Jerry Colangelo Branch, 1755 N. 34th Avenue, Phoenix; 602-424-0410
Most clubs are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit bgcmp.org.