Tonawanda News

Local News

October 3, 2013

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Tonawanda News — Local Boys & Girls Clubs thanked state lawmakers Wednesday evening for their efforts in obtaining a $750,000 grant that will help feed and educate disadvantaged children.

The club hosted the event at the Franklin Clubhouse in the City of Tonawanda to announce the new, direly needed programs. 

“Maziarz took the lead to make this happen,” said Phil Penichter, Boys & Girls Club of the Northtowns’ chief professional officer. “Along with Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and state Sen. Mark Grisanti, Western New York stood up and made this a reality for the entire state.”

The $750,000 will be broken up between Boys & Girls Clubs throughout New York. Penichter said he expects local clubs will receive somewhere between $70,000 and $90,000. 

The first-time grant will provide 15,000 children across the state with daily, hot meals for one year. 

“The kids will also have the ability to take home food home with them to their families,” Penichter said. “It is often the only meal they get until free breakfast the next morning at school.”

The money will also allow clubs to hold sessions to educate kids on how to prepare nutritious meals and why eating healthy is important.

“This will be done in a realistic fashion ... we’ll do in light of what they have available,” Penichter said.

The clubs hope to keep the program going when grant money runs out and the year expires, Penichter said. Once the program is up and running, the group will ask organizations and companies, such as Wegmans and Tops, to sponsor the initiative. 

“It’s not our goal to go back to the legislature and ask them to keep funding us,” he said. “We hope to create partnerships with companies and nonprofits when this grant ends ... folks that have a vested interest in nutrition.” 

Both Penichter and Maziarz spoke to the importance of the grant Wednesday night at the event.

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