Food and fun at the YMCA
With a fitness center and child care program, the YMCA is a fun place to be. While it’s good for recreation, the organization also has a mission to help the community get food.
The Mountain Grove YMCA provides food for the children and teenagers in the area. According to Megan Outersky, Branch and Child Care Director, the pandemic has expanded the way the YMCA supports its community.
“We provide snacks to any youth under age 18 or meals on non-school days,” Megan shared. “We have also distributed food boxes and grab and go meals to families during the pandemic or to any family who is in need and asks us.”
The Food Bank partners with the YMCA to provide food for its programs.
“We order food from Ozarks Food Harvest, as well as USDA commodities, and we have them delivered each month,” Megan explained. “Ozarks Food Harvest is our sponsor for the state food program we serve under.”
Megan has seen the ways the food programs have made a difference in the lives of local children.
“I’ve known from the first meal served that we are impacting kids’ lives,” Megan said. “Many of the youth we’ve served over the past decade rely on us for their evening food and do not get nutrition once they get home.”
Due to the hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic, Megan saw more and more households encountering hunger. The facility went from serving 30 families a month to serving more than 100 families each month.
“During the pandemic, we were able to help many families who were in need,” Megan shared. “We have received countless thank you cards and personal messages about how we fed kids who otherwise would have gone without food. That makes all of the hard work enjoyable!”
Through this tough time, the Mountain Grove YMCA has expanded to support more families. Now, the YMCA hopes to continue these extra programs into the new year.
“The pandemic has opened our eyes to needs within our community that we weren’t aware of before,” Megan explained. “We are working with YMCA grants to offer more feeding days and grab and go meals, adding to our food distribution program.”
We are very excited for the new ways the YMCA is working to provide food to the people of Mountain Grove, and we are grateful for the chance to support the organization’s endeavors. To learn more about its programs, visit the YMCA’s Facebook page.