Current Initiatives Target the Increasing Need for Food, Shelter
and Clothing by Families and Children in Northern Westchester
Backpack Buddies ~ A JLNW initiative since Spring 2010, Backpack Buddies bridges the gap in services for children enrolled in the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester (BGCNW) after-school programs. On a weekly basis throughout the school year, JLNW, in conjunction with the Food Bank for Westchester, provides 110 of the 150 children in the BGCNW after-school programs with non-perishable, easily consumed and vitamin-fortified food to take home on weekends. Addressing hunger among children of working families, JLNW funds and runs this program. It purchases food, packs bags and monitors inventory provided by the food bank.
Kids In The Kitchen ~ Promoting exercise and good nutrition, “Kids in the Kitchen” is an educational component of the Backpack Buddies program. At this bi-annual event for children enrolled in the BGCNW after-school programs, 150 children, in kindergarten through 7th grade, play games, plant vegetable seeds and enjoy tasting tables that offer healthy snacks rich in flavor and devoid of processed ingredients. Friendly recipes composed of readily available and inexpensive ingredients are given to each child to take home.
The Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry (MKIFP) is a volunteer, charitable alliance of 12 churches and synagogues dedicated to fighting hunger in the greater Mount Kisco area. In 2009, JLNW became the first non-religious community service organization to partner with MKIFP, providing volunteers for pantry shifts. MKIFP distributes food twice weekly. Most recipients are working families. The number of households seeking groceries weekly has increased 37% in 2010. Through September 2010, 11,673 individuals have been served. That number is expected to grow to16,377 individuals in early 2011.
Hustle For Hunger ~ JLNWʼs Spring 5K Run-Walk and 10K Bike Ride is organized to get Northern Westchester moving and raise awareness of the rise in hunger and childhood obesity in our community. This family event helps JLNW advocate for and fund its programs.
Done-In-A-Day And Done-In-A-Meeting projects tie into our Issue-Based Community Impact initiatives. They are funded and performed in cooperation with other Westchester leagues on behalf of local chapters of national nonprofits. Current projects are: Project Linus supplies blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need. These colorful blankets offer a sense of security, warmth and comfort at a time when children most need it. This year our members will make approximately 20 fleece blankets which will be donated to the White Plains chapter of Project Linus. The Pajama Program provides new pajamas and books to children in group homes and shelters. This year our members donated approximately 50 pairs of new pajamas and books to support this effort.
New York State Public Affairs Committee Of The Junior Leagues Of New York (NYSPAC) ~ As a member of NYSPAC, JLNW is part of a public affairs coalition of 17 Junior Leagues, representing over 7,000 women voters in New York State. NYSPAC acts on state and national public policy issues in support of league initiatives, educates league members on issues selected for action by NYSPAC, facilitates communication among Junior Leagues of New York State, and acts as a representative of the member leagues at the state and national level. JLNW and the Westchester leagues host an annual Legislative Breakfast in the Spring to educate state and county lawmakers on NYSPAC positions.
JLNW Mary Hughes Sakraida Award for Community Service ~ This annual award was created in 2001 to recognize area high school seniors who have demonstrated exemplary community involvement and service in Northern Westchester. The award promotes and honors the value of voluntarism in the next generation of community volunteers. Since its inception, JLNW has bestowed 31 awards totaling $31,000.
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