Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County serve appreciation to first responders



Teens on BGCMC’s new food truck, “Fork in the Road,” cooked and served meals at Martin County Sheriff’s Office at 800 SE Monterey Road. They invited Martin County Sheriff’s deputies, Martin County firefighters and members of Stuart Police, Stuart Fire Department, Sewall’s Point Police and Jupiter Island Public Safety.

“We believe wholeheartedly in strengthening relationships between our club members—especially teens—and the professionals who are charged with helping protect and serve society,” says Keith “Fletch” Fletcher, CEO of BGCMC. “It’s not only core to our emphasis on citizenship and good character—it’s vital to how these young people grow to see society as a whole.

“One of the best ways you can show someone how much you appreciate them is to cook them a meal, and thanks to our culinary class our kids are turning into true talents in the kitchen,” adds Fletcher. “And we couldn’t think of a more appropriate occasion to show our appreciation than doing so near the 20th anniversary of the day first responders demonstrated such courage, heroism and, sadly, sacrifice.”

BGCMC Culinary Training Program is led by Chef Ban Bettencourt, a 25-year veteran of the culinary and hotel industry. He teaches teens and middle-school-aged club members cooking, food handling, knife skills and more. The course culminates with the state test, enabling members to earn Level I certification. BGCMC will soon launch Level II, which teaches making menus, table setting and front-of-the-house skills. More than 60 kids have completed the program so far.

The food truck is a centerpiece in the program. Participating teens handle the ordering and inventory, head up marketing efforts, prepare the menu—which often involves veggies grown in the gardens at some local BGCMC clubs—and cook and serve the food.

“The only thing they’re not doing,” says Chef Dan, “is driving the truck and buying the food.”