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Boys & Girls Clubs celebrate Thanksgiving with ‘club family’

Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds of club members and staff, who dined on a culinary feast for the ages.

Boys & Girls Clubs kicked off the holiday season by hosting six simultaneous Thanksgiving dinners on Nov. 16 at After-school Program locations across Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Bonita Springs and North Fort Myers, each decorated with festive Thanksgiving and fall décor.

Children and teens started the afternoon with arts and crafts, which included writing messages of thanks that were posted on a gratitude tree. Then, club members enjoyed a chef-prepared Thanksgiving meal, which featured turkey and all the fixings, including stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls, green beans and a selection of cookies.

For the third consecutive year, The Brass Tap – a craft beer sports bar and restaurant in Bonita Springs – sponsored the Thanksgiving dinner.

“We were fortunate when we were asked three years ago to sponsor it, and ever since, it’s been a no-brainer for us,” said Mathew Baum, founder and president of Wolverine Management, which owns and operates The Brass Tap’s location in Bonita Springs. “The kids are amazing, super appreciative. Some of these kids won’t have a Thanksgiving meal, so this is their only chance at having one. It hits home pretty hard and makes you humble, and I’m happy that we’re able to help.”

Gathering for Thanksgiving dinner has become a Boys & Girls Club tradition, partly because so many Southwest Florida families are struggling financially. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates the average price of a home-cooked, expanded Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people will cost $84.75 in 2023.

“Not every child has an opportunity to gather around the table and enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with their family,” said Denise Gergley, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County. “That’s why we come together as a club family and give thanks for all our blessings. It’s the same reason we are planning holiday parties in mid-December… all club members should be able to experience the joys of the holiday season.”

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