The article below was written by a YMCA of the USA representative in response to questions from White House officials regarding efforts being made by local YMCAs to aid community members during the Coronavirus outbreak. We’re pleased to have been one of the two associations that they chose to spotlight. Read the full post here. You can help us with these efforts by donating or volunteering. Learn more by clicking here.
Mel Curtis, Moshannon Valley Branch Director at the YMCA of Centre County, began mobilizing his mobile meal program last week when he realized the schools would be potentially closing. He reached out to community partners to organize mobile meal delivery sites for children and grocery drops for families. Before Coronavirus struck, Mel was organizing over 700 weekend backpacks to distribute to kids throughout State College, PA in addition to offering weekly meals afterschool and during the summer.
Now, Mel has collaborated tirelessly to ensure children still have access to food during school closures with his buses delivering meals this week. Mel shares that parents are ecstatic to have help with groceries and have been very appreciative as the Y hands out food. As closures started happening across the county, a single mother called Mel at the Y because she did not know where to turn. She panicked. With schools closed and grocery stores sold out, she did not have what she needed to care for her 7-year-old son with Autism. The Y was able to get hygiene products and groceries she desperately needed.
Mel also shared that the outpouring of support is unbelievable. Coca Cola sent skids of water to the Y as a donation. A trucking company called from Minnesota and said they had a truck in PA that had a refused delivery, would the Y be interested? The company donated 8 skids of snacks that were going to be delivered to a high school that closed. Clubs are making sandwiches. A volunteer paid an apple farmer $500 to donate a truckload of apples and the farmer is adding more! A school administrative assistant is volunteering her time to help the Y coordinate the excess of SFSP paperwork to get more sites added in the community (18 more sites requested for approval tonight).
Community volunteers are helping secure food donations and making calls to help supply the bags of groceries being distributed to families along with children’s meals.
Mel says the Y of Centre County is hosting a food drop on Friday with Representative Glen Thompson at Bellefonte Court House and at the State College Walmart parking lot on Saturday.
These food drops are in addition to the Y’s Travelin’ Table mobile meal and grocery distribution. Volunteers packed over a thousand bags on Monday alone.