A local non-profit is trying to prevent the most at-risk youth in our community from falling through the cracks.
The Service Collaborative of Western New York's youth/workforce development program serves at-risk youth ages 16 to 24. It helps them earn their GED, as well as gain valuable skills in construction to get jobs when they finish the program.
They continued virtual work during the pandemic, even handing out Chromebooks for students to keep up on their training.
But for many program participants, COVID-19 took away a safe space and meals they depend on.
"Often, they come from disconnect home environments, and home is a place that unfortunately a lot of our students get away from and come to our safe location that is equipped with food and supplies and our case management team assesses on a daily basis what the needs are," said Katya Kroll-Haeick, programming director.
That's why staff members at the organization were busy packing emergency food kits on Tuesday. They put together 80 bags of food and personal items. There were enough proteins, grains, canned fruits, and vegetables to cover three meals for three days.
"It's so important that we feed these young people when they come to us on a daily basis. And to think about starting your day without breakfast or any type of meal and boosting you energy source. So I think it's just as important when they're home to be able to do this," said Bryan Lawrence, senior director of workforce and volunteerism.
The bags will be delivered later this week.