When all is said and done, the true heroes of the coronavirus pandemic will be the health care professionals in clinics, community health centers and hospitals large and small, who stood on the front lines of the battle against the invisible enemy. Shoulder-to-shoulder with them will be the first responders and the people who made our food systems run, from top to bottom, without falter.
And right behind them will be the support staff who took care of the day-to-day needs of those workers, like the childcare professionals in the 300 locations across Massachusetts who opened their facilities to the children of essential workers as soon as Governor Charlie Baker designated the first round of the state’s emergency childcare sites.
The South Shore YMCA is proud to serve the region during the epidemic with two such emergency childcare sites, welcoming youths to its Early Learning Centers in North Quincy and Hanover as parents work long hours to care for those affected by the virus, and otherwise keep the rest of us safe during this time of unrest.
“The drop-in system we’re operating has proven to be a relief for vulnerable families and members of the essential workforce including first responders and health care professionals,” said Kristine Swan, the Y’s Vice President of Youth Development. “The Y is prepared. We are fortunate to have our South Shore YMCA educators and leadership staff to provide this valuable service to our community, utilizing our best practices, while providing positive early educational experiences to young children. Our kiddos are enjoying hands-on activities such as planting seeds and learning about our Y Family Farm at the Early Learning Center in Hanover,” said Swan, “We have our Y Early Learning professional staff who are ready for this impactful journey, while meeting the needs of each child through caring and nurturing interactions. We will take care of the kids so their parents can take care of us.”
During the crisis, the South Shore YMCA is also operating its food pantry at the Germantown Neighborhood Center in Quincy, providing emergency food supplies to more than 500 children, adults and seniors people each week. The South Shore Y connecting to all through the newly-created Y360 online exercise classes and education programs provided by staff members from the Y’s early learning centers and the South Shore Natural Science Center.
You guys have seriously saved us.You guys have seriously saved us. The first 2-3 weeks with no school and daycare my husband and I were swapping shift after shift and sometimes left him watching our kids on no sleep after working midnight shifts. Which wasn’t safe for anyone. So thank you from the bottom of our hearts, thanks for keeping our kids safe and happy while we are at work. I keep saying this, but it’s so true. We signed up for this when we chose our professions but our kids didn’t... and you guys have given them a sense of normalcy, fun days and the community even supplying them with lunch and treats. We are so lucky.
We love the YMCA. Community COVID-19 Support
The outpouring of thanks from families has been generous and heartfelt. “My mother is the only other person I have to help watch my kids,” said one mother, “and she is too old to be watching them all day, and she is worried. It is so great that you are here for us.”
Another mom, on the way to work when the Y opened the North Quincy site early last week, thanked the Y staff with simple but heartfelt words when she dropped off her 3-year-old: “God bless you for pulling this together so quickly. Thank you.” Considering the sacrifice our essential workers are making for us, the Y believes it’s the least that they can do.
The Y thanks its many supporters who have generously donated to date, including many members who have converted their membership dues into donations, and greatly appreciates anyone else who can help ensure everyone has food during this difficult time. For a complete list of donors and to learn how to join them, please visit www.ssymca.org.