LODI (CBS13) — Donations are coming forward for a San Joaquin County youth organization in danger of closing.
“It’s important because it gives you life skills,” said Eddie Cotton, club director.
For more than 50 years, the Lodi Boys and Girls Club has served San Joaquin County kids.
“We want to develop our youth, we wanna make sure they are productive citizens of our society,” he said.
The majority of their funding comes from donations and their budget took a big hit when the General Mills plant closed three years ago and took its donations with it.
“We are draining everything, we are trying to make sure that we are wise with the dollars we get,” he said.
Since then they’ve cut their staff from 15 to just seven.
“We do not have a reserve, we are operating on a deficit right now,” Cotton added.
A problem for many community parents.
“They’re too big for daycare, but they’re too young to stay home alone,” said Sky Mayer.
Her son has been going to the club for the past year and a half.
“Miller is getting straight A’s right now and I would say it’s because of this place, because the routine of doing your homework,” she said.
Miller gets out of school around 2:15 p.m., but his mother doesn’t get off work until 5. She says there’s no other safe place to go except for the club.
“Having to work full-time and not be there for your kids after school is a huge problem for a lot of parents,” she said.
The club is launching a major new fundraising effort seeking more donations and grants.
“I’ve been doing nothing but applying, and meeting with people,” Cotton said.
Barber Sal Mireles who owns Legendary Barber Shop in Lodi attended the club as a kid, now he’s trying to keep it open with a hair cutting fundraiser this weekend.
“I grew up there,” he said. “If that closes down then there is nothing else in Lodi for those kids to do.”
It’s a final plea to Lodi residents for funding.
“There’s going to be a big hole if this place closes, we really hope that doesn’t happen,” Mayer said.
The board decided with the fundraising efforts, the club will continue to run through the first of the year.
The board of directors is hoping a fundraising event in January will geo continue it through the year.
To help now and get your hair cut, come to the club this weekend.
The staff from Legendary Barbershop is coming to the Boys and Girls Club:
Sunday, Oct. 21st 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The barbershop is looking for food donations to add to the party and can be reached at (209)747-9707
As for the Girls and Boys Club, an online fundraiser has been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/keep-the-doors-open-for-lodi-bampgc