[SOUTH SHORE, APRIL 17, 2020] Since closing its doors to membership operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Shore YMCA is delivering weekly meals and support to vulnerable seniors living in senior housing, thanks to the support of Y donors, partners and local restaurants.
As part of its COVID-19 Community Support Challenge, each week the South Shore YMCA is raising funds to procure nourishing, delicious meals from local restaurants, caterers, and the Y’s own food services directors at Camp Burgess and Hayward. The meals have been delivered to senior housing units throughout Quincy by Y staff and partners from the Quincy Housing Authority.
According to the CDC, older adults are at higher risk for developing more serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19 illness. For their own protection, physical distancing is absolutely necessary for seniors, yet it creates an extraordinary struggle for seniors in isolation to access food, medicine and other essentials of daily living.
“They’re petrified,” said James Marathas, Executive Director of the Quincy Housing Authority, who oversees 1000 seniors living in senior housing units in the City of Quincy. “They are afraid to go out. They don’t want to call for a ride or take a bus to the supermarket. Really, they’re stuck. Getting supplies and food is difficult for them now. There is a ‘no visitor’ policy in place for their protection, so people cannot come to see them. Even though it is for their own protection, it feels like a struggle. To have meals delivered to them and knowing somebody cares, it’s fantastic. We are so thankful to the Y for this support. It’s critical.”
“It is our duty and shared responsibility to protect at-risk seniors from COVID-19,” said Paul Gorman, President and CEO of South Shore YMCA. “But the efforts associated with feeding and protecting seniors require additional emergency funds. That’s why we are asking our community to donate to our Weekly COVID-19 Community Support Challenge. Each week, we raise funds to pay local restaurants and catering companies to prepare nutritious meals, and our Y team partners with the Quincy Housing Authority to deliver them safely to hundreds of seniors, right to their doorstep.”
Patrick Murphy, Senior Executive Director for Quincy YMCA, oversees the Y’s Germantown Neighborhood Center food pantry. Each week, he and his team at the Y dedicate time to pick up and deliver meals to hundreds of seniors at local senior housing units.
“We’ve seen the amount of food distributed through our food pantry triple since the crisis began,” said Murphy. “The need for healthy food is substantial, especially for these seniors who cannot go out to get the food they need. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, members and partners, we are proud to serve the community by bringing these meals directly to seniors’ front doors. It’s incredibly rewarding work, and it is truly appreciated.”
Restaurants who have helped the YMCA in preparing these meals to date include Alma Nove and the Chef’s Table. The South Shore YMCA’s own chef and food services team at their Camp Burgess & Hayward overnight camps are also pitching in to prepare healthy meals to be delivered.
“Showing our seniors that their community is here for them — that we care — is imperative,” said Quincy City Councilor, Dave McCarthy, who stepped in to help deliver meals this week. McCarthy, who also serves on the Board of Directors for South Shore Mental Health, added, “Without regular visits and daily interaction, social isolation could lead to feelings of loneliness for seniors. Hearing a friendly voice on the other side of the door and finding a healthy meal on the doorstep can be the bright light that keeps our seniors going in this difficult time.”
For more information on the challenge and how you can help the South Shore YMCA support our seniors and other vulnerable neighbors during this crisis, contact Mary Orne, firstname.lastname@example.org , 781-264-9453, or visit ssymca.org/covid19support to support the challenge through a tax-deductible donation.
About the South Shore YMCA
The South Shore YMCA is a leading charitable organization dedicated to strengthening community. Since 1892, the Y has served communities across the South Shore of Massachusetts and beyond, engaging over 60,000 adults, children, families and seniors each day through membership, critical social services, and programs that support a healthy spirit, mind and body. The Y empowers everyone by ensuring access to resources, relationships and opportunities for all to learn, grow and thrive. By bringing together people from all backgrounds, the Y’s goal is to improve overall health and well-being, ignite youth empowerment and demonstrate the importance of connections throughout our community. To learn more about the South Shore YMCA and our causes, visit ssymca.org. The Better You Belongs Here.