Jude Wood Boys and Girls Club
Jude Wood Boys and Girls Club

By Rae Matthews, Elevation Eats

When times are tough, it is important that communities come together. Star Navigators are community leaders that shine a light on a better, kinder future.

Jude Wood is the executive director for the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe, located in South Lake Tahoe. She has been in that position for six years and is a wearer of many hats, including, these days, “chief temperature taker.”

After the shutdown in March, Boys and Girls Club dedicated itself to feeding the South Lake Tahoe community.

“The key one was our free supper program,” Wood notes. “We were lucky to have amazing support from Vail, the restaurants and casinos, who donated their perishable items, and within a week we were up and running a free, drive-thru, to-go, hot supper.  We went with supper as LTUSD [was] doing great work providing lunches and we already had a State [of California] agreement to provide suppers during that time frame. Between March 23 and June 22, we gave out over 7000 free meals.”

Wood knew that providing meals went a long way toward helping unemployed families focus on paying bills. She said the experience was very rewarding.

“There were so many incredible moments,” Wood explains, “I can’t thank the community enough for the support that we received.  From Lakeside opening their kitchen to us and saying, ‘Take what you want!’ to donations arriving in the mail with the instructions to ‘feed the kids,’ the Gomez family holding fundraisers on our behalf, Harumi Sushi making over 100 rolls for us to give out, the mom who cried when I gave her money to buy groceries, the non-Club kids who we got to know, and my staff, who rolled up their sleeves, turned up each day to cook, and threw their heart and soul into everything I asked of them. My heart will be eternally grateful.”

Be kind and think community before self.

Wood reminds us, “Be kind and think community before self.” She believes leadership with compassion is critical in shaping the next generation. Thank you, Jude, for leading the way!

You can support the efforts of the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe by joining Team AWESOME. Wood adds, “Any amount helps, but donations over $25 earns you a sweet pair of Team AWESOME socks!”

For more information and to make a donation, visit bgclt.org.