NAMPA — The Boys and Girls Club of Nampa serves about 400 meals a day, and some staff spend their entire shifts picking up and delivering food from other locations because the nonprofit can’t make in-house meals.
Downtown Nampa bike shop Rolling H Cycles is sponsoring a monthlong fundraiser, called Ride Bikes for Kids, through October in hopes of raising $50,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Nampa to fund a commercial kitchen. General manager Jessica Wyman said Rolling H staff are promoting the fundraiser through social media and newsletters, and by riding bikes through the community to tell people about it.
Every $20 donation is entered into a drawing for a custom-built bicycle from Rolling H, a Niner AIR 9 RDO with a more than $5,000 value. The drawing will take place Nov. 1. You can donate to the fundraiser by visiting the Boys and Girls Club of Nampa’s website, bgcnampa.org, or at Rolling H, 1314 First St. S., Nampa.
Boys and Girls Club of Nampa CEO Melissa Gentry said the nonprofit has been operating at maximum capacity for the last eight years, but the demand for services grew because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the club typically serves about 1,200 children each year, and they’ve already served about 1,400 children to date in 2020.
The club has more than 500 active members, and expanded to six different sites through a partnership with the Nampa School District, Gentry said. The additional sites allow the nonprofit to take more children, since fewer are allowed inside the original site because of social distancing requirements. The original building had a maximum capacity of 230 people, but now its capacity is at 130.
“Our building just got a lot smaller,” Gentry said.
The Boys and Girls Club of Nampa previously operated as an after-school program open from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. But as Nampa schools remained online, Gentry said the club expanded its hours to serve children during the school days, and is now open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The club increased its staff from 15 to 50 people to accommodate the expansion. All previous part-time employees were moved up to full-time, and the club’s budget doubled from about $700,000 to $1.4 million.
The Boys and Girls Club of Nampa is funded mainly through private and corporate sources, Gentry said. Recently, the city of Nampa approved up to $200,000 of CARES Act funding to go to the club to help expand services to the six sites it now offers.
Children who visit the club receive a breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack, Gentry said. Boys and Girls Club staff receive the food from three locations — the Nampa School District, Saint Alphonsus and the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County, which has a commercial kitchen.
The Nampa club has a small kitchen, but it’s not big enough to prepare food on a large enough scale to feed all of its children. Gentry said the stove is smaller than the one she has in her house. Building a commercial kitchen has been a priority for a long time, she said, and the heightened demand from the pandemic has elevated the need for it.
“We could do so much more with a commercial kitchen,” Gentry said.
The Boys and Girls Club of Nampa has several other needs aside from a new kitchen. Gentry said the club never had Wi-Fi because it wanted the children to be active rather than staring at their phones, but now that the club takes children during the school day, they need internet connections.
The club is also hoping to build a full janitor’s closet. The janitor’s supplies are currently stored behind the club’s kitchen, but with a larger kitchen in the works and a full-time janitor on staff for the first time, Gentry said they are looking to move the supplies and build a larger closet to store them.
Rolling H co-owner Michelle Haynes learned about the Boys and Girls Club of Nampa’s needs while looking for a community project to support, Wyman said. Though this will be the first time Rolling H has sponsored a community project for the club, Wyman said the staff hope to continue supporting local needs on an annual basis from now on.
“We’ve been really inspired by this,” Wyman said.