“Giving back is just a part of who we are,” according to Abigail Shuck, principal agent for Shuck’s Financial Services in Franklin, Indiana. That’s why Shuck and others at the firm have consistently donated and volunteered in the community over the years, supporting Special Olympics, Relay for Life and other worthy causes.
With the Boys & Girls Club of Johnson County, however, Shuck has taken that giving approach to the next level—inspired by her own experience.
“As a child, I was involved in the athletics offered by the club,” she said. “It felt like a perfect spot for me to fit in and make a difference.”
More than 200 kids visit the club each day for after-school and summer offerings such as arts and crafts, gym activities, teen programs, and more, said Natalie Fellure, the club’s executive director. All are designed to help kids develop skills and have fun, but last fall, Shuck learned about a significant gap: As many as a quarter of these children come from families with annual incomes below $11,000, and they often don’t have enough to eat when they aren’t at school.
“Some kids eat lunch at 11 a.m., and by the time they get picked up from the club, it could be 7 p.m. They are starving by that time—and I would be, too!” Shuck said.
The “Feed the Kids” program, created by Shuck, now offers dinner two or more nights a week at the club to help kids get through until breakfast the next morning. “I walk in and the kids run up to me, asking what’s for dinner,” she said. “They’re so grateful.” Leftover meals are sent home to families in need.
Volunteers (including Shuck and everyone at her agency) make and serve the dinners—more than 2,500 so far—and that’s in addition to all of Shuck’s other efforts for the club. Not only does she plan and attend fundraisers throughout the year, Shuck also serves as the board president.
It’s vital work, because the need in the community is growing, Fellure said. “We are seeing an increase in homelessness, drug use, mental-health issues and kids in unique family situations. These impede a child’s ability to perform well in school and social settings—but here, they’re in a safe environment where they can just be a kid.”
“We could not do what we do every day without [Abby and Shuck’s Financial Services’] support, passion, and commitment.”
A 2019 Safeco Make More Happen Award will help the club address those needs. The honor comes with a donation of up to $10,000 from Safeco to the Boys & Girls Club of Johnson County on behalf of Shuck’s Financial Services.
The money will be used to transform the club’s concession stand into a kitchen where kids can learn how to prepare their own healthy food. “This will be an incredible resource for years and years to come,” Shuck said.
No doubt, Shuck will continue to play a big role at the club for years to come as well. “Abby and Shuck’s Financial Services are members of our family,” Fellure said. “We could not do what we do every day without their support, passion, and commitment.”
Learn more about these Make More Happen award winners: