The youth centre at Woolwich Community Services (WCS) may currently be closed but fundraising for the operation still continues. The annual barbecue for that cause returns today (Thursday) and tomorrow in support of the facility, which provides year-round recreational activities geared to youth from Grade 6 to 19 years of age.
The centre provides a safe, supervised atmosphere for youth to participate in onsite and offsite activities ranging from Internet access and movies to games and a range of books.
“Since the centre’s opening in 2001, it has provided hundreds of youth with the opportunity to participate in games and activities in a safe and supervised atmosphere. So in past years we’ve had the youth come out and volunteer and help us run the barbecue; due to COVID, this year it will be a little different – it will only be Woolwich Community Services staff actually running the program. But it kind of runs twofold: it raises money for the youth centre and it also generates awareness about the center to the public,” said Leigh-Ann Quinn, community engagement co-ordinator with WCS.
The annual event, which has been running for more than a decade, typically sees between 150 and 200 people come out to enjoy a barbecued lunch while helping support the cause. Each year the barbecue helps generate about $1,000. Those who come out for the fundraising effort are treated to a hotdog ($5) or a hamburger or sausage ($6) combo, along with chips and a drink. Quinn says items are also available to be purchased on their own.
Because of COVID-19, WCS will not be bringing in youth to help with the barbecue, instead staff and summer students will be helping for the duration of the event. Social distancing protocols will be in place with markers placed on the ground for people to stand. Condiments will also be placed on food by the staff working to limit the number of people touching items.
Quinn says things will be very similar to their free Hotdog Thursday event that runs each week until the end of August, excluding today due to the fundraiser.
With the youth centre currently closed, all programming is on hold for the moment. Once the centre is ready to start up again, WCS will let residents know so they can begin welcoming people back.
The barbecue runs today and tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at WCS, 5 Memorial Ave. in Elmira.