ST. PAUL, Minn. - At every Boys and Girls Club in the Twin Cities, you'll find someone inside like Michelle Wright, alongside her four children, who are grateful.
"I count on the Boys and Girls Club a lot," said Wright.
Wright works full time and, like so many like her, depends on the folks at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities to watch her children when she can't.
"I could possibly lose my job if I don't have daycare. I don't have money to pay for daycare," she said.
So when she found out Thursday the doors will close for the next two weeks, she reacted much like she did during an interview with KARE 11 on Friday by wiping away tears, uncertain of what's ahead.
"It's frustrating," she said with tears in her eyes.
Because individual donations are down dramatically, the leaders at the Boys and Girls Club say they were forced to do something they've worked so hard not to...cut back.
"We were really left with no other options," said President and CEO Erin Carlin who calls the clubs economic situation a crisis.
The non-profit group relies entirely on donations, which goes to pay for programs that help children with homework or find a job, among other things.
Meals are also served here. Considering that 80-percent of the 12,000 kids they serve annual live in poverty, those meals sometimes are the only food they get.
Carlin says she doesn't quite know why donations are down. She believes the uncertain economy might have something do with it.
"We're coming up in the month of December needing about 250,000 to 280,000 to be able to pay our bills," she said.
Carlin says they'll save about $60,000 by closing the doors over the next couple weeks, meaning their 92 employees will have to take a furlough. That's if you're lucky.
Jamie Schultz is packing up her things. She was the head of the mentor program until Friday. The grant that fueled her salary dried up and with no money to spare, she reluctantly has to go.
"We have the whole mission to help the kids but it's hard when you don't have the money and you have to make cuts and my job happens to be one of them," she said.
But when the doors reopen January 7th, the hours of operations will be cut too by one hour, meaning teenagers who are usually able to stay until 9 at night will have to go too.
"Teenagers are taking the biggest hit right now with our reductions," said Carlin. "It was very difficult, the board struggled with it, the staff struggled with it."
And now the parents are struggling with it, fearing the next two weeks could be the first of many more to come.
"Some kids don't get to eat at home. And the meals they get are either at school or here. So two weeks of no service is a lot for a community that needs it," she said.
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