After School Matters Distributing Meals to Thousands of Chicago Teens
August 16, 2020
Through a generous anonymous donation, After School Matters collaborates with Gate Gourmet to help feed Chicago teens and their families
CHICAGO—After School Matters, Chicago’s largest provider of after school and summer programs for high school teens, has teamed up with Gate Gourmet to distribute up to 9,000 free box meals per week to After School Matters instructors, teens, and their families in the wake of the current COVID-19 health pandemic.
Made possible through the support of an anonymous donor, the collaboration provides free meals to support teens and families of After School Matters, while also helping the airline catering company keep staff employed during a time when the industry faces a decline in passenger travel of 95 percent (New York Times, April 9, 2020).
The meal distribution began April 13 and is available two days each week at three different locations throughout the city. After School Matters teens and/or their family members can come to one of the locations to pick up three meals per person. Meals are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and After School Matters identification is not required. As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, it is encouraged to wear a mask or other face-covering in public. For the latest information on After School Matters resources, visit: afterschoolmatters.org/asm-together
The three locations and their hours are:
After School Matters’ Lutz Center
3435 N. Cicero, Chicago 60641
Monday and Friday
1:30 to 3:00 p.m.
James Jordan Boys & Girls Club
2102 W. Monroe, Chicago 60612
Monday and Friday
3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
St. Sabina Social Services Center
1120 West 79th Street, Chicago 60620
Monday and Wednesday
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
“For nearly 30 years, After School Matters has worked to improve the lives—and futures—of teens all across Chicago through their world-class programming, and now, more than ever, it’s important we are there for them,” said Chicago First Lady and After School Matters Board Member, Amy Eshleman. “The After School Matters reach is vast, with teens in each zip code of our city, and we are working diligently every day to make sure they all feel supported during these unprecedented and challenging times.”
After School Matters engages nearly 19,000 Chicago teens annually through life-changing, world-class opportunities in after-school and summer programs in the arts, communications and leadership, sports, and STEM.
Following guidance from state and city officials, as well as Chicago Public Schools, After School Matters stopped in-person instruction of its spring session programs on March 14 —this includes 475 programs serving nearly 6,900 teens in all neighborhoods of Chicago.
“Our team remains resolute in our commitment to supporting Chicago teens. Many After School Matters participants and their families are currently facing difficult circumstances, and this meal distribution is an important part of the collection of essential services our program instructors and staff are providing to help persevere through this time,” said After School Matters CEO Mary Ellen Caron.
Many After School Matters teens depend on the organization’s programs as a safe and secure place to go each day, as well as the financial stipend they receive from participating. To continue to provide support to and engagement with Chicago teens during the pandemic, After School Matters staff and instructors are providing a range of services—financial support, food access, and programming.
After School Matters is continuing to pay instructors and provide teens with participation stipends in order to ensure financial resources continue to flow to communities—totaling $1.5 million in instructor pay and $2.2 million in teen stipends supporting economies across Chicago.
While After School Matters programs aren’t meeting in person, instructors are connecting with teens in their programs to ensure engagement and learning continues. Video chat check-ins and enrichment newsletters provide teens with resources to their content area, projects to try at home, as well as resources for necessities. In addition to engaging with teens remotely, instructors are sharing activities, tips, and playlists on social media under #ASMTogether, including ways to stay active at home, concerts, simple recipes, meditation, and more.
To support After School Matters and its work engaging thousands of teens across Chicago, visit: afterschoolmatters.org/support-us/give-now.
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About After School Matters
Celebrating its 30th year in 2021, After School Matters is a nonprofit organization that provides after-school and summer opportunities to Chicago public high school teens to explore their passions and develop their talents, while gaining critical skills for work, college, and beyond. After School Matters programs are project-based, led by industry experts, and provide a pathway to progress in skills development and independence. Teens earn a stipend while participating in programs in the arts, communications and leadership, sports, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Over the span of three decades, After School Matters has engaged more than 350,000 teens throughout the city of Chicago. www.afterschoolmatters.org
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