Coming up on a year now that the pandemic has forced widespread closures, and caused humanitarian and economic crises, YMCAs across the United States have taken the opportunity to support their communities in a new way.
Paul McEntire, chief operating officer for YMCA of USA, said that during the course of the pandemic no Y fully ceased operation unless it was permanently closing. If the physical location was closed, other services were still being offered. (However, several YMCAs around the country have merged with another YMCA, and some YMCAs have closed one or more of their branches.)
“Virtually all Y’s actually expanded some of their services, especially in the area of child care and feeding, especially feeding of children,” McEntire said. “And that’s something the Y has gotten much more into in the last five years. But we’ve really expanded that work in COVID.”
According to McEntire, about 1,500 Y’s across the country have partnered with food banks, restaurants, churches and community groups to provide meals.
Stephen Ives, CEO and President of the YMCA of Greater Houston, said that when his Y’s physical locations closed, they redeployed staff into food distribution.
Lindsey Potter (2021, February 19)Many US YMCAs have been partially reinvented by the pandemic. Retrieved from: https://nonprofitsectornews.org/2021/02/19/many-us-ymcas-have-been-partially-reinvented-by-the-pandemic/