YMCA of Northwest North Carolina Repurposes Facilities and Staff to Support Community during Coronavirus Pandemic

(April 14, 2020) WINSTON-SALEM — Thanks to the generosity of members and supporters, many YMCAs across North Carolina have repurposed buildings and staff to support critical community needs during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Honoring the recommendations of Gov. Roy Cooper and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the 25 independent YMCA associations that make up the N.C. Alliance of YMCAs suspended programs and temporarily closed facilities. Following a deep cleaning, many of the state’s YMCAs have rallied to provide support such as meal programs, childcare and blood drives. 

“Our Ys have the ability to pivot our mission to respond when our communities need us most. We have the facilities and expertise to provide emergency child care and other services while doing our part to protect children and our staff,” said Sheree Vodicka, CEO of the N.C. Alliance of YMCAs. “No other organization is better equipped to provide child care to medical personnel, first responders and the critical workers the community relies on.” 

Emergency Childcare 

We have emergency childcare at four sites — William G. White, Jr., Davie, Statesville, and Stokes YMCAs — for healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers responding to this crisis. Students are provided breakfast and lunch, in partnership with the school systems, and provided support as they work on their school subjects, along with health and wellness, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, and social and emotional learning opportunities.

Food Access

Through partnerships with other local organizations, hundreds of meals are distributed each day to the community for free at the Winston Lake Family YMCA every Monday through Friday from 2:00-3:00pm. In the last three weeks, thousands of meals have been distributed at this site alone. And starting Wednesday, April 15, the Fulton Family YMCA will serve as a meal distribution site. The hours for pick up are 4:00-5:00pm, Monday through Friday.

Blood Drives

We are partnering with the American Red Cross to hold emergency blood drives at some branch locations to help meet the shortage that blood banks are experiencing.  We’ve already held blood drives at the Jerry Long, Alexander County, and Statesville Family YMCAs and we have the following planned through the remainder of the month:

Jerry Long Family YMCA

  • Wednesdays, on April 15, 22, and 29
  • 10:00am-2:30pm

Yadkin Family YMCA

  • Monday, April 20
  • 2:00-6:30pm

Wilkes Family YMCA 

  • Monday, April 27
  • 2:00-6:30pm

Checking in on Seniors

With more than 19,000 seniors connected to the Y, our staff are conducting wellness check-in calls for those who are most vulnerable to the virus.

Virtual Resources

You may have noticed on a number of our social media pages that our staff are hard at working deep cleaning our branches for when we do reopen. Our wellness staff have put together a number of virtual fitness videos and other tutorials, too! And our Youth Development staff have worked on at-home resources and activities for kids. You can find those resources at ymcanwnc.org/yourvirtualymca.

Making Masks

Participants in RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Society of Entrepreneurs) Winston-Salem have created and donated masks to those who need them most, including 50 masks to Cancer Services, a nonprofit that assists cancer patients. In addition, participants made masks for 100 YMCA employees who are still working in our branches. RISE works in partnership with YMCA Literacy to empower local refugee and immigrant community members with opportunities to start small businesses.

Waiting for Summer Camp

At this time, the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina has not made a decision to change the schedule for YMCA Camp Hanes‘ summer camp schedule. We are prepared for kids to have an amazing summer camp experience, no matter what date we are able to begin.

Currently, we are working on many alternative plans, along with updating our Communicative Disease Plan and using the Centers for Disease Control, American Camp Association, and YUSA guidelines. We will follow the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and Gov. Roy Cooper’s orders — along with any local orders and guidelines — and look to open camp when it can be done safely for campers.  

As any decisions or alterations are made to our 2020 summer camp schedule, we will communicate those changes to our campers, their families, and the general public. While we cannot wait to have YMCA Camp Hanes full of campers enjoying the summer sun and zip-lining, climbing, swimming, and making lifelong memories with friends and new friends, their safety — and the safety of our staff and community — is of the utmost importance. 

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The mission at the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina is: “Helping all people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body.” This organization lives by that message daily, but especially now in these uncertain times. The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina has been and will always be an organization that responds to challenging and pressing community needs. That’s why support from members and donors who are able to contribute is more important now than ever before.

“Every cancellation and membership put on hold has a direct impact on our ability to support our staff team and the community moving forward,” says Stan Law, President and Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina “We know it isn’t possible for everyone, but we’re asking members to consider keeping their memberships active so we can use this revenue to protect our community during this time of uncertainty.” 

To help the Y provide programs and services during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit ymcanwnc.org/keepingyouhealthy.

For further media inquiries, please contact Michael Bragg, Communications Director, at m.bragg@ymcanwnc.org or 336 777 6252.

 

About us: The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). Our Mission: “Helping all people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body.”  While our Association office is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, we have 15 branches located in seven counties — Alexander, Davie, Iredell, Forsyth, Stokes, Wilkes and Yadkin. The YMCA is for Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.