With fast food around every corner, it can often be tough to resist a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder. However, with the assistance of The NY/NJ Snowflake Youth Foundation and Laurie Tisch, founder of the Illumination Foundation, the Variety Boys and Girls of Queens in Astoria “broke wall” last week on a teaching kitchen.
Executive Director of the club, Terence Hughes, is looking forward to the new kitchen.
“We’re really excited to be able to have a teaching kitchen here in a couple months,” he said.
The NY/NJ Snowflake Youth Foundation is a newly formed charity headquartered at MetLife Stadium. It was created as an initiative of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, but is independent from the NFL and its individual teams.
Rich Petriccione, senior vice president of the Super Bowl Host Committee, said each year the NFL aids organizations where the Super Bowl is hosted, and so far has funded 50 projects throughout New York and New Jersey.
“We’re happy to be here,” Petriccione said. “Not everybody can get to the Super Bowl, but the Super Bowl can touch everybody in the community by doing things like this.”
Tisch, who is the co-owner of the New York Giants, is widely known for her philanthropy. Having a teaching kitchen will educate kids and the community about not only what is healthy, but how to prepare it as well, she said.
“It’s been really great working with the Snowflake Foundation,” Tisch said. “This project is such a great example of everything we stand for.”
Giants special teams captain Zak DeOssie joined Tisch and assisted with breaking the wall. He said he remembered when he was a skinny kid in high school and he got bigger because he ate right.
“It’s an honor to be here and support such a great cause,” he said.
Blair Trunzo, director of operations at the club, said he loves working there and seeing the kids bond and grow as individuals. Providing them with the opportunity to learn how to cook and eat healthy is amazing, he said.
“This is going to be phenomenal,” Trunzo said.
Deon Scott, 16, has been going to the Boys and Girls Club since he was young. Scott has made many friends and said he is excited for the new kitchen.
“I think it’s a really good thing they’re doing here,” he said.
According to architects Carlos Bolanos, they are in the approval process, but they hope to begin construction soon and be done in a couple of months.