The Boys and Girls Club of Red River Valley, which includes the Ardmore and Wilson branch of the organization, received a $20,000 check from Panda Express Thursday afternoon.
Carlos Villegas, area coach of operations with Panda Express, said the new Ardmore location will be opening in around a month.
“We’re getting to ready to open the third week of August, so we are very excited to be here in Ardmore to connect with the community,” Villegas said. “This is one of the ways that we can embody the spirit of giving, which is one of our core values at Panda.”
Villegas said the donation comes from the philanthropic side of the company known as Panda Cares.
“As a company, Panda Express has Panda Cares which is the nonprofit side of Panda,” Villegas said. “We partner with organizations such as Boys and Girls Club to continue providing for underserved children in the United States.”
Villegas said Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of Panda Cares, so there were approximately 20 similar events going on all over the nation to commemorate the day. Ardmore was chosen to be the event taking place in Oklahoma.
In addition to the check being presented to the organization, the children involved with Boys and Girls Club were invited out to enjoy the afternoon.
“We have about five stations set up where the kids can have fun,” Villegas said. “We have a station where we teach them how to use chopsticks. We have one where the kids can make a mask themselves, and the other ones are just for fun things like testing their abilities carrying an egg with a spoon. It’s all about making a connection with the community and the kids having fun.”
Amy Miller, Area Director of Boys and Girls Club of Red River Valley, said they are extremely grateful for the support.
“We’re so thankful for all the help and support from people like Panda Express and other businesses in our community so that they can see that we are here, and here to stay,” Miller said. “We’re going to be here for these kids to help them grow and help them learn. This community is in desperate need of more places for children to go that are safe and effective for their learning capabilities, and I’m excited that Panda Express is helping us serve that need.”