Food program born from the critical need exacerbated by COVID-19 and job loss in 2020 has grown its operation to serve the Eastside community
YMCA of Greenville is addressing critical hunger needs in the Taylors and Greer area, with a new food delivery program through the Eastside Family YMCA. Through the program, which started last week, YMCA staff and volunteers source, pack and deliver bags of food to seventy families who live in motels, homes, and apartments. The families were identified through an area church and Greenville County Schools. The program is an expansion of food deliveries the YMCA of Greenville has been organizing since May of 2020 in the Pleasantburg Drive and Interstate 85 area, to serve families there who are considered homeless and live in local motels.
Like the food outreach efforts in Greenville, the Eastside operation manages a group of volunteers to source, pack and deliver bags of food for families in need. But instead of delivering to motels, YMCA volunteers are delivering to each family’s place of residence, in partnership with other outreach organizations.
The YMCA of Greenville plans to deliver more than 60 bags of food each week to families in the Taylors and Greer area. Funding for this program comes from grants and a portion of the YMCA of Greenville’s 2021 Annual Campaign, which kicked off earlier this year with a $1.1 million goal. The Annual Campaign serves a dual purpose now and continues to fund scholarships for families who do not have the means to pay for the Y’s programs and services.
“When we piloted the food delivery program in the spring of 2020, we had no idea how long it would continue, or how far-reaching it would be,” said Diana Watson, chief philanthropy officer for the YMCA of Greenville. “The reality is that this pandemic has made it incredibly tough for some families to feed their children, and the need stretches beyond the area we’ve been serving. We feel it’s our responsibility as the YMCA of Greenville to continue to respond to that need.”
“Our mindset as we approach 2021 fundraising at the Eastside Family YMCA has shifted dramatically since this time last year,” said William Coates, director of development for the Eastside Family YMCA, and volunteer coordinator for the Eastside food delivery operation. “While we’re still focused on our core mission to build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all walks of life, we have to look beyond our branch, into the Taylors and Greer communities where people around us are struggling to survive. And we are meeting those people where they need us.”
To give to the YMCA of Greenville’s Annual Campaign, visit www.ymcagreenville.org/give. To volunteer, please contact William Coates at [email protected].
About the YMCA of Greenville SC
The YMCA of Greenville is a cause-driven non-profit organization. Our mission is, following the example of Christ, to build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of every youth and teen, improves the health and well-being of our community and provides opportunities to give back and help support our neighbors. Founded in 1876, the Y serves more than 70,000 people annually through programs that include afterschool care, resident and day Camps, aquatics, youth and adult sports, and health and wellness. Programs are offered through four family branches, as well as the Verdae YMCA, Y Camp Greenville, Judson Community Center, the YMCA Program Center and Hollingsworth Outdoor Center. The Y is also home to Y Teen Services and the SC Youth in Government program.
For more information about the YMCA of Greenville, visit ymcagreenville.org, or call (864) 412-0288.