After four decades of service in the community, the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City will temporarily shut down on Thursday and suspend all operations until the fall.
The decision was made just as hundreds of excited children in the area prepared for summer camp.
“I’m very sad because it was fun there,” said 10-year-old Amiyah Foreman, a former Boys and Girls club camper.
A letter was sent out to parents on Tuesday, citing financial difficulties as the reason for the temporary shutdown.
Around 1600 children belong to the club and nearly 200 attend after school programs there every day. Officials say fewer donations and grants and increased membership left the non-profit about $150,000 in debt.
“I’m not sure the organization adjusted as fast as it needed to the loss of that funding,” said David Ross, the club’s interim chief provisional officer. “We need to get some significant gifts.”
Aishah Muhammad believes ome of those gifts should come from Atlantic City casinos.
“The casinos should help,” she said. “They make a whole lot of money.”
NBC10’s Ted Greenberg reached out to all of the casinos in Atlantic City. None of the casinos gave a definitive response though some said that the gaming halls have provided donations for the club in the past.
In the meantime, Muhammad and other parents are now forced to make other plans for their children during the summer.
“Now I don’t know what to do with them for the summer while I’m at work so this leaves me and the whole city in a bind,” she said.
Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian told NBC10 his office received about two dozen calls on Tuesday from people who wanted to give donations, including a law firm that plans to contribute $5,000. The city’s recreation department is also working to provide alternative summer programs for children.
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