Summer can be a tough time for some kids who rely on reduced-price and free school lunches during the academic year, but the Olympic Peninsula YMCA is working to keep children well fed while …
Summer can be a tough time for some kids who rely on reduced-price and free school lunches during the academic year, but the Olympic Peninsula YMCA is working to keep children well fed while school’s out through free meals delivered across the Peninsula.
Using their new “Y on the Fly” delivery van, YMCA staff have been delivering nutritional meals to 70 families a week — and thousands of meals every summer — across Jefferson County.
“This transportation of fresh, nutritious food is a hand reaching out to prevent families from feeling separated from their communities,” said Sarah Henry, food security coordinator for the YMCA. “We don’t want anyone in Jefferson County to believe that they cannot access the safety and happiness that comes from a good meal.”
Nourishing, daily meals are vital for the health of developing adolescents, and YMCA staff and volunteers have packed and served fresh food to kids from Quilcene to Port Townsend to Brinnon this summer, especially aiding children and teens that live in the more remote parts of the county.
Blue Heron Middle School has been helping the “Y” by allowing its staff and volunteers to prepare and pack meals in their kitchen facility.
“We have a wonderful team of staff and volunteers who work hard to prepare and distribute meals each week so that kids and families won’t go hungry when school is not in session,” said Wendy Bart, CEO of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA. “One of our greatest needs is delivering meals that include fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy products.
“A vehicle equipped with a refrigeration unit allows us to deliver fresh food to those families,” Bart added.
This year — through grant funding provided by the First Federal Community Foundation — the YMCA was able to purchase their “Y on the Fly” van and get more meals out to kids in need.
“We’re so incredibly grateful to the First Federal Community Foundation for the funding to purchase our van. It’s helped us provide kids and families in Jefferson County – who otherwise would go hungry — with access to fresh, healthy food,” Bart said.
Currently, the Olympic Peninsula YMCA is still looking for volunteers to help pack and deliver food boxes. For more information about the Y’s meal program, including volunteer opportunities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The YMCA is also seeking financial support for its summer meals program; $50 will cover the cost of a family food box. To donate, go to olympicpeninsulaymca.org/donate.
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