Quincy, February 8, 2021: The Quincy City Council honored the South Shore YMCA and its SSYMCA Germantown Neighborhood Center as “COVID-19 Heroes” for serving the community during the pandemic through the Y’s food pantry and temporary homeless shelter.
Nominated by Ward 1 Quincy City Councillor, David McCarthy, the Council recognized the South Shore YMCA for “going above and beyond the call of duty” to feed residents at the SSYMCA Germantown Neighborhood Center Food Pantry.
“I have been involved with the Y’s Germantown Neighborhood Center for years,” said McCarthy, who supported the Y’s COVID-19 efforts by delivering donated meals to isolated seniors in local housing in 2020. “Even before the pandemic, the folks down there would step up, take charge and proactively get involved in any type of crisis. When the pandemic hit, I watched them transform. Everyone from the Y was there, all-hands-on-deck, serving over 500,000 pounds of food and 53,000 meals to children, families and individuals who found themselves out of work and in trouble.”
Quincy City Councillor-at-Large, Noel DiBona, who assisted the Y’s food pantry throughout the year, bringing Easter baskets, food, and other donated supplies to help local residents, thanked the Y for their commitment to feeding the community. “The partnership with the South Shore YMCA Germantown Neighborhood Center has been a great asset to the city. I visited the food pantry a few times this year, and they’ve never seen lines like this before. There is such a huge need. I want to thank all the South Shore YMCA Germantown Neighborhood Center staff and everybody at the YMCA for everything you’ve done.”
South Shore YMCA President and CEO, Paul Gorman, joined the February 8 Quincy City Council Meeting along with members of the Y’s leadership team to accept the honor. Gorman shared that the food pantry at the SSYMCA Germantown Neighborhood Center has seen its usage quadruple during the pandemic. As the need continues to grow, Gorman said the Y has been able to sustain its food pantry service thanks to its donors, partners such as the Greater Boston Food Bank, Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market and area supermarkets, and the dedicated Y staff who run the operation.
“When the pandemic hit, the South Shore Y was forced to close down our regular operations for about four months and had to furlough almost 900 people,” said Gorman. “There were about 55 of us left on staff, and all 55 were involved in Germantown at that time. I’m so proud of our staff who dropped everything and saw the need. All of us pivoted from our regular jobs to be there and serve.”
Quincy City Council President, Nina Liang, recognized South Shore YMCA Community Outreach Director, Phil Gay, and his team at the Germantown Neighborhood Center for their “exceptional” work in local youth programming during the pandemic and beyond. “It is such an incredible resource to that neighborhood and to the city,” said Liang. “It is such a huge family over there at the Y, and I’m just so grateful to all of you for your continued efforts and continuing these services here in the city.” Liang, who grew up in the Germantown neighborhood, was instrumental in connecting the Y with donors to provide face masks for the Y staff during the early months of the pandemic.
Anne Mahoney, Quincy City Councillor-at-Large, added, “When it comes to the YMCA and the team spirit that you have with the city, it’s never gone unnoticed. But with the pandemic, there is a huge need. It was really a herculean experience. These things don’t just happen, they happen with a lot of coordination, a lot of effort, and a lot of minds at the table that are trying to make things better for the people in the City of Quincy, and keep them safe. Thank you very much for all that you continue to do for our community.”
The Y was also praised for transforming the Quincy YMCA branch to serve as a 24/7 temporary homeless shelter, in partnership with Father Bill’s & Mainspring, protecting vulnerable older adults facing homelessness and preventing community spread of COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic.
“I would be remiss if on the Mayor’s behalf I didn’t publicly thank Paul Gorman and the whole team from the South Shore Y for what it did in setting up the satellite shelter,” said Chris Walker, Chief of Staff for the City of Quincy and the Mayor’s liaison to the City Council. “It cannot be underestimated how important that effort was in helping our residents through the pandemic. When this all broke early in the spring as the pandemic was taking hold, it was literally one phone call from Mayor Koch to Mr. Gorman. The Mayor said we have a real issue; we need to do something with this incredibly vulnerable population. There was no hesitation. The words were literally, ‘What do you need, and when do you need it?’ and with that, we were off and running.”
“Based on our conversations with some of the professionals in the field, we really put ourselves in the position to potentially save many, many lives by doing what we did together to help that population,” added Walker.
“It is my pleasure and my honor to tip my hat to the South Shore YMCA Germantown Neighborhood Center,” said Councillor McCarthy. “They are always there. They are always thinking of the community.”
“We are very fortunate to be part of this great community of Quincy to see what they do, not only to support agencies like us to facilitate the work in the community, but for all of their residents during this time,” said Gorman. “We are just very happy that we can be a part of that and help the community.”
About the South Shore YMCA
The South Shore YMCA is a leading charitable organization dedicated to strengthening community through programs that promote healthy spirit, mind, and body. Serving the communities of Quincy, Randolph, Holbrook, Weymouth, Braintree, Milton, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hanover, and beyond, the South Shore Y provides the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive through its services and programs. Financial Assistance is a Y community benefit available to all families in need, applicable to all Y programs and services. To learn more about the South Shore YMCA, and support community programs visit ssymca.org/donate. The South Shore YMCA, the better you belongs here.