The West Seventh Street community started as an immigrant community of Italians, Bohemians, Germans, and Irish. It later evolved into a blue-collar community in St. Paul. Part of this rich community tradition was to take care people in need within the community. The community is now more diverse with people of color and millennials. The goal continues to be one of taking care of others within the community.
A group of long-time West 7th Street friends and Monroe Alumni started the West 7th Street Boys Club in 1985. The concept was to assist needy individuals and families with club members’ time, talent and donations. Club members, as well as local churches and social service agencies like the West 7th Community Center, identify recipients for services.
There is no formal membership drive and members are invited to donate what they can. Also, there are no administrative expenses and no annual dues for the West 7thStreet Boys Club. The Club now has 200 men and women who participate by volunteering at events, donating money and identifying recipients for services.
Holiday Events Service
Thanksgiving and Christmas events are at the heart of the Club’s activities. Each year, the Club provides groceries and gift certificates, toys and bikes, for families, seniors, and young adults.
Safe Summer Nights Out Service
Besides the Holiday events, during the summer, the Club participates with the St. Paul Police Department doing 11 Safe Nights Out events. People come to local recreational centers within St. Paul to share food and games and meet police officers on an informal basis. Also, one of the Club members gets sponsors for all of the food for these events. A typical Summer Night Out event draws between 500-1000 participants. All Safe Summer Night outings are free.
Working with referrals from churches, service agencies and individual Club members, The West 7th Street Boys Club addresses the specific needs of individuals and families. It could be the need for a wheelchair or other medical devices. Last year, a family of four needed a new van. The club located and donated a used van to the family that lives on West 7thStreet.
To learn more about how to get involved see west7thstreetboysclub.com.