Community Makes the Y Stronger

YMCA East Orange NJWhile our mission is clearly to make the community stronger through our three areas of focus, there was a remarkable event in our East Orange Branch last week…The community made the Y stronger.

The 60 Children in the Abbot Pre-school program and over 150 children in the SACC program receive federally subsidized meals through the City of East Orange, Department of Health and Human Service, Division of Nutrition, Child and Adult Food Services Program.  For months the East Orange YMCA has been diligently advocating for healthier meals and snacks for its children.  With the advent of a new Director of Food Services at the City, tremendous progress was made and a new vendor with a promising healthy menu was selected.

With the transition came an obstacle.  On January 2, 2014, the first day of school after break and facing an impending snow storm, the East Orange YMCA was informed the price of change was a 7 day window where food service from the city would be interrupted.  Food service from the new vendor would begin on January 13th…. Now what?

Staff, community members and vendors rose to the occasion.  The circles of personal influence and relationships connected and word of the immediate need spread.  Staffers, Girls Scouts, synagogues, churches, neighbors, friends, family, and vendors came through with an abundance of healthy food.  Together the community provided 300 breakfasts, 300 lunches, 1,000 dinners and thousands of healthy snack, fruits and vegetable.  The story was like the story of the loaves and fishes, the food seemed to multiply.  Ernest, Sharon and Karen all expressed a sincere thank you on behalf of the entire staff.  They are so grateful to everyone who reached out to all of your friends, families, and YMCA supporters.  On behalf of many full bellies tonight-we thank you!  

Karen Robson shared many stories throughout the week of triumphs and challenges, but the bottom line according to Karen, “With the community support this week, many of our children never knew how close they were to missing a meal. Our staff never had to look our children in the eyes and say that dinner was not coming tonight. Our children were able to laugh, learn and play because of your support.”  

The East Orange Y is stronger because of community support and outreach efforts. Our staff team is inspired by the outpouring of donations. Our families are pleased with our organization’s ability to come through with a difficult challenge. Our hearts are light and spirits high.

The YMCA make strengthening our communities our cause. We help individuals and families everyday become stronger, more connected and secure. Help us make an impact in your community. Give to the Y.