Why the Moncton Boys and Ladies Membership wants $300,000 to improve its kitchen – New Brunswick

The Moncton Boys and Girls Club serves meals to its members six times a week, including special holiday celebrations like Thursday night’s Christmas dinner.

The meals are prepared in a small kitchen using two residential ovens.

“The kitchen we’re in now, it’s very residential, and it’s just not built for what we need,” director of program services Ashton Beardsworth said in an interview.

“We do our best, we have our staff and volunteers who do incredible things with what we have but we want to do more and we want to serve more people,” she said.

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Executive Director Moncef Lakouas told Global News that the demand for meals has increased in recent years.

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“What we serve today in terms of healthy meals and snacks is way over what we used to do in the past,” he said.

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“We’re still using residential appliances to cook for 100 kids a day, which is not realistic.”

The organization has launched a $300,000 fundraising campaign on its website to expand its kitchen in order to feed more kids and start a cooking skills teaching program.

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She said beyond the kitchen space issues, some programs that they offer are happening off-site because they are outgrowing their building.

Lakouas said the club helps roughly 1,200 children and youth a year with everything from tutoring to integration programs for newcomers, and just providing a safe space to have fun.

It is largely funded by community donations, and parents pay a small annual fee.

“We have seen tremendous growth on our services since the pandemic, and also because we have been welcoming many newcomers in Moncton,” Lakouas said.

“What I hate the most is turning down some families or telling kids that there is no space for them here so we’re looking for options eventually about expanding.”

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He said beyond the space issue, there were other challenges preventing an expansion currently, such as a need for more staff.

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