Lynda Smart Brown doesn’t do things halfway. When she sets a goal, she not only achieves it, she also rallies friends, family and business leaders to her cause. Brown has been a supporter of the Boys & Girls Club of South Valley for 20 years, volunteering her time and talents to the hundreds of children who attend the programs every weekday.
Because of her significant efforts, the BGCSV nominated Brown for the Heart and Hands Award that was presented to her during the Utah Philanthropy Day luncheon in November. The award honors volunteers who make a substantial contribution to a charitable cause. Brown was speechless when she learned about the recognition.
“I was just doing what I think needs to be done. I was just floored when they told me I had won the award,” she said. “I just needed to give back and do more.”
Brown and her daughter, Laura Peifer, spend a lot of time at the club, whether it’s helping serve Thanksgiving dinner or getting a bus donated so the club can get students to and from the facility. She even celebrated her 70th birthday with the children at the BGCSV.
During the last few years, Brown’s passion has been creating a food program and an ongoing food drive to help feed the children who visit the club. BGCSV prepares 2,000 meals each week at the Murray location, and only a portion of that is funded. The rest comes from donations through individuals or organizations.
“The need is so great,” Brown said. “These kids are hungry. Sometimes the food they have at the club is the only thing they eat all day.”
Brown created the Kids Eat! program where people can get involved by donating healthy snacks that include fruit, granola bars, pretzels, eggs, milk, yogurt or whole grain products. Anyone interested in helping with Kids Eat! can contact Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BGCSV Executive Director Bob Dunn spoke highly of Brown, citing her as an example of how one individual can make a positive impact while encouraging others to contribute.
“I’ve never met someone with so much energy,” Dunn said. “She was the perfect person for the award. She doesn’t own a big company. She’s just an individual who wants to make a difference.”
A long-time resident of Murray, Brown hosts events at her home where admission is a food contribution to the club. She also encourages Murray Chamber members to host food drives to help stock the club’s pantry. Her top priority is to provide at least one healthy meal for each child who walks through the doors.
She doesn’t feel that she’s giving a handout, but a helping hand to those who need a little more support.
“I go and personally shop for snacks for the kids. I’ve been trying to spread out my money to buy food so these kids can eat,” she said. “As long as everyone is doing something, that’s all that matters.”