The YMCA made a commitment to quickly respond to the needs of the community during the COVID19 crisis. Since March, the Y has served more 145,000 meals throughout metro Atlanta by shifting our afterschool program locations into drive-up meal sites and preparing over 900 backpacks of food each week in partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Many of our YMCA branch locations transformed into first responder childcare centers supporting hundreds of children who needed care while their parents served populations hardest hit by the pandemic.
As our branches safely re-open to provide regular member services, we are determined not to leave the communities in need behind. At the Y, we know it is going to take time and a strategic approach to recover from the challenges presented during this pandemic. We know the community needs will continue to be great. Collaborative partnerships will be needed for many months ahead as we adapt to the demands a “new normal.”
One of those partnerships is a collaboration with The Common Market to provide families with fresh produce boxes weekly until June 24. Made possible through a USDA-funded grant, The Common Market and the Y are connecting vulnerable communities with fresh food from sustainable family farms. YMCA branches are providing 500-900 boxes of fresh produce that are distributed throughout metro Atlanta. One of our weekly Farm to Family hubs will be the YMCA’s Leadership and Learning Center, located in Atlanta’s Westside. Our goal is to serve at least 100-150 households weekly.
When the YMCA of Metro Atlanta made the Westside our new home, we made a commitment to be a partner with our surrounding community. Our plans included providing a small, grab and go market offering healthy meal options for local residents. Due to COVID19, we were forced to delay those plans, however, we hope that our partnership with The Common Market is the catalyst to our ongoing effort to bring healthy food to our Westside neighbors.