The children from Kips Bay Boys & Girl Club in Throggs Neck may now have a hot meal thanks to community activist Bob Bieder and Councilman James Vacca.
Bieder and Vacca visited the 550 Balcom Avenue location on Wednesday, February 4, touring the facility and joining children as they enjoyed their hot meal in the cafeteria.
Kips Bay offers free afterschool programs for kids 6 thru 12 years old from 3 to 6 p.m. and ages 13 thru 18 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Different rooms give the children a chance to find an area for quiet study to work on their school work, use 1 of 17 computers available in the computer lab, get tutored by the on premises teacher, play games in the recreation room, expressive their creativity in the arts and crafts area, or participate in sports and activities in the new gym.
The Throggs Neck Unit services over 200 kids from the community daily, feeding about 150 of those children each day.
“We used to give a snack or sandwich, but now with the new stove we can provide hot meals that promote healthy living,” said Alberto Rodriguez, Kips Bay Throggs Neck Unit site director. “The kids are loving it and the staff likes it to. It used to be a madhouse in here and now it’s so quiet because the kids are engaged in their food.”
Bieder discovered the need for an operational stove while touring the facility to make a donation during the holiday season. Kips Bay was able to purchase the commercial stove from World Vision, but did not have the means to install it.
“I have been in this community my whole life and fortunately we have good people here,” said Bieder, owner of Westchester Square Plumbing Supply Co., Inc. “This was a nice match up of community, business, and elected officials to help benefit the children. When you reach out, people are generally helpful.”
Beider received a list of needed equipment and Castle Hill Electric Supply offered the material at cost.
Vacca stepped in to cover the expense, $ 325, acquired through a donation from the Chippewa Democratic Club.
“I wanted to be helpful because food heated is much healthier for the kids,” said Vacca. “I am glad to be here today and see such an active afterschool program; I think this stove will be put to good use. It wasn’t a large amount that was needed, but it was stopping progress.”