Miami, FL – Courtesy of special Be Strong International (BSI) donors and partners, hundreds of needy families were provided free boxes of food that included gift cards to purchase a fresh turkey or ham along with a variety of canned goods and other food items.
In doing its part to support those who may be suffering food shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, BSI hosted its first-ever Thanksgiving food distribution on Friday, November 20, 2020, from 10 a.m. to noon at Palmetto Bay Village Hall. Volunteers greeted guests wearing masks with a warmth that could only be matched by the 82-degree weather as they packed their cars with much-needed Thanksgiving supplies.
“It is so important to us at Be Strong International to provide families that may be hungry with the food they need to nourish themselves, particularly during these difficult and challenging times,” said Danielle Dubuc Wightman, Outreach Liaison at BSI. “We cannot expect families to focus on bettering themselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually if they don’t have their basic needs met.”
By the end of the event, BSI staff and volunteers gave out all 500 food boxes along with cotton face masks and family-friendly board games. Partners and sponsors who provided the supplies included Walmart, Florida Blue, TD Bank, Publix, Farm Share, The Village of Palmetto Bay, Be the Light Ari Arteaga Foundation, AIE Charter School, Meraki Wellness Healing, Salt Life Today Church, and Florida International University Alpha Phi Sigma National Honors Society.
“It’s a very humbling opportunity to give back to the community that we work and live in,” said Emily Arcia, Vice President of TD Bank. “It is an honor for the employees of TD Bank to collect money so that a family in need will use our donation to purchase a turkey and other food items.”
The Thanksgiving Drive-Thru Food Distribution comes on the heels of a Back-to-School Supply Distribution event hosted by BSI back in September. Like that event, local families could register online and get supplies for free. All BSI programs are conveniently offered online during the pandemic, and there is no cost to youth and parents to register.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Kristina Ugalde at email@example.com.
Miami, FL – South Dade youth will benefit from a $10,000 award to Be Strong International (BSI) from the Community Recovery Fund at The Miami Foundation.
The funds from this award will directly benefit needy and low-income children by allowing BSI to invest in the expansion of imperative programs and services that serve local youth through improved organizational capacity and reach.
“This generous grant helps us to meet the needs of children and teens,” said Michelle Shirley, Executive Director of BSI. “The programs that will be expanded thanks to this award will be better equipped to address existing organizational gaps and will allow us to serve the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community."
BSI plans to immediately advance their work and implement programs with the goal of seeing its positive impacts and benefits no later than February 2021. In accordance with The Miami Foundation's guidelines, BSI will evaluate the impact of their programs and will document and report on effective strategies by March 15, 2021.
Be Strong Int’l Expands Program Offerings for Restoring Broken Marriages and Community Relationships
Miami, FL – Be Strong International (BSI) has added two innovative new programs to its offering, including the latest that seeks to re-engage broken relationships in the community caused by social justice concerns over the last several years.
The Children’s Trust has awarded the Innovation Grant to BSI for its new Be Strong at the Table (BSATT) program. Beginning in 2021, the year-long program will feature two dinners in each of the five regions within Miami-Dade County. The dinner participants will include a mix of local families, youth and community leaders from different racial, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds to address the issue of social injustice, all while dining together.
“The best part about this is that it is practical, and it has never been done in Miami,” said Juan Camargo, Special Projects and Outreach Liaison. “The secret of its success is that it leads to building meaningful relationships between groups of people who may never have interacted in a close setting.”
The dinners offer an opportunity for the participants to develop empathy and a drive to action. After the dinner, the challenge for the diners is to invite someone of another culture or religion to their home to likewise share a meal in order to develop further discourse and perhaps a personal relationship. This project will culminate in a documentary to be premiered for the community.
BSI has also been awarded a grant for its new “Marriage Matters” program. Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is awarding a grant of $749,000 to the organization. Congresswoman Donna Shalala (FL-27) issued the following statement after its award:
“Be Strong International has worked tirelessly to install positive youth development practices and social-emotional learning to equip young people with the tools they need to make better decisions about relationships, money, work, and family life. I am pleased they are being recognized and receiving funding to continue the important work they do in our community.”
Participants for these free programs will be selected from both a registration and selection process. BSATT is limited to 50 participants during the first year, and Marriage Matters seeks 80 local couples.
More details will be announced on the website and social media in the coming weeks.