Boothbay Region YMCA receives funding for weekend meals

$10,000 in emergency funding from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Fri, 03/27/2020 - 7:30pm

The Boothbay Region YMCA has received $10,000 in emergency funding from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation in order to continue providing weekend meals for area youth. Curb side pick up at YMCA parking lot is from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for Saturday and Sunday.

This food program work is a collaborative effort between multiple organizations. For many years, our Y has participated in a food security collaborative to tackle the increasing rate of food insecurity faced by our community. Through this work, a number of organizations partner and leverage resources to work against hunger in a cohesive, systematic approach. The Boothbay Region Elementary School cafeteria provides meal preparation, and the school district is currently providing a bus in the Y parking lot for us to use as a meal distribution center. Healthy Lincoln County is the USDA sponsor for our summer meals program. The Boothbay Region Community Resource Council helps identify and serve families who are experiencing food insecurity, and the Boothbay Harbor Police Department assists in that as well. The Boothbay Region Food Pantry works with Twin Village Farms and Veggies to Table to provide fresh produce every week (in season) that is distributed at the Y to the children and their families. The Boothbay Harbor Rotary Club provided funding and volunteers to add a gardening program for school-age youth at the Y to encourage healthy cooking and eating. All of these organizations work in tandem to identify needs and match families with resources with a goal of ending food insecurity in our region.

In the fall of 2019 we received funding to launch a weekend and school holiday feeding program, and since that time, we have provided sack meals each weekend and during school vacations for area youth. During the school closure, the district is providing meals for children and youth Monday-Friday, and we have ramped up our program to provide additional sack meals each weekend (breakfast and lunch on both Saturday and Sunday) to those under the age of 18. The COVID-19 impact on our community has been significant as children are out of school and families are suffering a loss of income from missed work. Providing weekend meals is a lifeline for these families.

This funding will enable the BRYMCA to continue providing these essential meals to some of our most vulnerable residents. The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation announced its $1.5 million emergency funding initiative on March 24. The online application was opened to community-based organizations that are engaged in providing human services during the COVID-19 crisis. Grants of up to $10,000 were made available on a first-come, first-served basis until the funding is exhausted.

Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim's mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities they serve. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In 2019, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded nearly $2.9 million in grants to 990 non-profit organizations in the region. Since its inception in 1980, the Foundation has awarded $155 million in funds and resources throughout the four states.