Community Action Inc. of Rock & Walworth Counties (CAI) is partnering with the Stateline Family YMCA and Stateline Boys & Girls Club to provide activity bags for Hackett and Merrill elementary students in Beloit.

“We want to say hello, boost morale and let kids and families know we’re here for them,” says Marc Perry, Interim Deputy Director for CAI.

“We’re pretty limited on how we can serve the community right now,” says Mark Rand, CEO of Stateline Boys & Girls Club. “We want to do whatever we can to keep serving the kids that we serve and keep them as engaged as possible while they’re at home.”

Rand says his club has been offering virtual programming via email and social media for their approximately 1,900 youth members during the COVID-19 quarantine. He also hopes to offer curbside dinner pickup for families in April.

The activity bags include snacks and treats, educational activities created by each nonprofit, colored pencils and books provided by the Beloit Literacy for Life Initiative. Frito Lay and Culver’s are also donating items for the bags.

“A little treat here and there helps break up some of what they’re facing,” says Ann Hankins, President and CEO of Stateline Family YMCA. “It allows us to create a bit of a bright light for kids at home who are facing some of the same anxieties as adults.”

Hankins says she is thankful for the YMCA members who have kept their memberships during the quarantine. That has helped allow the YMCA to offer emergency child care for children of health care workers and other essential employees. Community Action is offering a similar service at its center in Janesville.

The agencies are creating 200 activity bags to be distributed along with the school district’s lunches at the school sites. Hackett Elementary School will receive 100 bags with tentative distribution to families the week of April 6. Merrill Elementary School will receive 100 bags the week of April 13. Agencies are following the school district’s quarantine protocol regarding donations.

“We provide services to all of Beloit, but have a special emphasis on the low-income families in these neighborhoods,” says Perry.