Ogdensburg Boys & Girls Club open amid pandemic

The choreographer leaves the stage as dancers prepare to preform on the main stage of the 41st annual Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club Expo. This year’s Expo has been canceled due to the coronavirus. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

OGDENSBURG — The Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club has been working hard to keep its doors and services open to its youth members and families in need over the last year.

Due to the pandemic, the club has had to limit its maximum capacity to 50 kids, but they are still offering arts and crafts and gym activities. The club is following pandemic guidelines, including social distancing, masks, sanitizing equipment, and daily temperature and wellness checks.

“We’re serving less kids but we’re still serving them a valuable purpose,” OBGC Executive Director Thomas P. Luckie, Jr. said.

With a limited number of kids, the club has cut back on its employees, which in turn has saved the club some expenses. Mr. Luckie noted the club was fortunate enough to receive a PPP loan to pay employees and keep them working, and are looking at an additional loan for 2021.

“We’re open, we’re serving kids, we’re out in the community so it’s going to be a priority to get our staff vaccinated as well,” Mr. Luckie said.

Although the club has had to limit its services, it is continuing to help the community during this difficult time. According to Mr. Luckie, the club has delivered 13,000 dinners and 1,400 bags of groceries to youth members and their families.

Working with the Ogdensburg City School District to identify kids in need, the club’s staff members deliver the food to the families’ homes.

“We keep that going because we know it’s so important and it’s a priority to get food out to these kids and these families,” Mr. Luckie noted.

Last week, the club partnered with the Ogdensburg police and fire department to donate 40 winter coats to youth members as well as Christmas presents to roughly 15 families.

Mr. Luckie noted the club’s appreciation for its donors, who consist of OGBC alumni, community members, and community businesses. One donor gave the club 50 grocery store gift cards that have been gifted to families in need.

“We’re fortunate because so many people are so generous and people make donations for us to buy things like lunch for the kids,” Mr. Luckie said.

The Carlisle family also recently made a donation that will be put toward an additional gym in honor of Preston Carlisle. The club’s board is hopeful that construction of The Preston C. Carlisle Youth Athletic Center will begin this spring.

“When things are opened up we’re going to have a beautiful new facility to serve more kids more often in addition to what we already offer to the kids and the community,” Mr. Luckie said.

While EXPO has been canceled for this upcoming March, the club is still selling raffle tickets and will be giving away more than $15,000 in prizes. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased by contacting the club or on its website. Board members and donors also will be selling them throughout the community.

“It’s amazing how generous this community is because they really care about the kids and what the club can do to help the kids,” Mr. Luckie said. “We’re serving a purpose being open and we’re going to keep plugging until things get back to normal.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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