by Lisa Tome
All the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cecil County wants for Christmas is $50,000.
We are serving a lot more kids," said Kimberly Anders, Director of Operations for the clubs.
Attendance at the clubs is up and revenue for the non-profit is down.
Average daily attendance at the Elkton club is 54 children ranging in age from six to 18. There are three staff members at that club. Charlestown also has three staff members and daily attendance of almost 70 children. North East has 62 children attending daily and three staff. The Rising Sun club has three staff and 43 children attending daily.
The newest club, New East in North East has nine members and one staffer.
Anders said more older children have now signed on. The Rising Sun club has received an influx of middle school-aged children. North East has 48 children enrolled in the Torch and Keystone clubs. Anders and Executive Director Mary Jo Jablonski are the other paid staff.
To join the club, which runs after school hours during the school year, the cost is $35 per semester or $50 for the school year. Anders said salaries and insurance are the club's greatest expenses. Utility costs have also increased.
Fundraising for the clubs is a year round effort.
A major fundraiser, the annual gala, typically held in October was not held this year due to a scheduling conflict. The annual golf tournament brought in about half of what was expected in revenue.
There is a February Mardi Gras celebration fundraiser. Cuffs for Kids is held in April. During that event, local "celebrities" are jailed and then make bail once they raise $1,000 each. The Youth Celebration fundraiser is held in May which is followed by the fall golf tournament and the October gala. There is also a plant sale in May. A few other smaller fundraisers weren't held in 2014.
"We have about a $50,000 shortfall. The board (of volunteers consisting of 14 members) is working as hard as they can. We have other fundraisers underway. They are working hard to keep this afloat," said Anders.
Despite the economic struggle, Anders said there is no talk of club closures or any other major changes.
"I have heard Kathy (Board president Kathy Kunda) said that we are going to do everything it takes to keep the doors open for the kids," said Anders.
Membership fees have increased during the past few years. "Our last resort is more price increases. I don't think that would be done. We're here for the kids, not the money," said Anders.
Anders said that grants received by the club in the past can't be obtained anymore. "Grants are fading away. There is not as much available as there used to be," she said. The club also does not receive funding from the National Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The local clubs do pay an annual charter fee to the parent organization.
Donations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cecil County are 100 percent tax deductible. Donate by mailing to 101 East Main Street, Elkton, Md. 21921. Online you can donate at www.mybgccc.org.