Y Transitions to Support Community During Pandemic

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Asheville, N.C., March 15, 2020 – These are unprecedented times for the YMCA, the nation, and the world. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, the YMCA of Western North Carolina is adapting to adjust operations.

Effective Monday, March 16, all YMCA of WNC centers will close to the public for at least two weeks.

These locations are the Asheville YMCA, Black Mountain YMCA, Corpening Memorial YMCA, Ferguson Family YMCA, Hendersonville Family YMCA, Reuter Family YMCA, Woodfin YMCA, YMCA at Mission Pardee Health Campus, and YMCA Youth Services Center at Beaverdam.

All YMCA programs, including wellness programs, youth sports, and swim lessons, are also suspended.

“The YMCA has a strong history of adapting to meet our community’s needs,” said President and CEO Paul Vest. “During this time of need, we are working with community partners to support our neighbors and to help them stay healthy in spirit, mind, and body.”

Emergency child care programs

Some parents must work and cannot stay home. We are here for them.

Because the majority of our afterschool programs take place in schools that will be closed for the next two weeks, we are not able to run those programs. The Y will not charge families for afterschool care while schools are closed. Any payments that were made in advance have been credited to future weeks when our afterschool program resumes.

The YMCA will offer emergency child care for area public school teachers at Beaverdam on Monday, March 16.

We are in discussions with county emergency management officials, and are preparing to offer child care to healthcare providers and first responders in our centers while schools are closed.

We are supporting our afterschool families by sending daily emails with fun activities, including active play ideas (scavenger hunts, kids yoga, kids Zumba and more), character development work, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) projects for all ages.

To help us assess community child care needs, we encourage area parents to complete this brief survey.

Ensuring food security

Starting March 16, our mobile food markets will hand out prepackaged bags for our neighbors to pick up at scheduled market sites. As always, there’s no charge for this service, and no questions are asked.

We are also working with local school systems to deliver food to children in need. Starting Monday, March 16, we will serve packaged take-home dinners at Oakley, Estes, Black Mountain, Pisgah, West Buncombe, and Weaverville from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. alongside Buncombe County Schools lunch service.

If anyone is quarantined and needs food resources, they can reach out to 828 775 7081 for assistance.

Maintaining connections

We realize this is an uncertain and anxious time, and that our members and participants depend on us for programs that support their health and well-being.

Many of our evidenced-based health intervention classes, such as our Diabetes Prevention Program, are being held virtually.

We are also pleased to offer our members access to a variety of free online workouts and group exercise classes to help them stay fit during this time of social distancing. These options offer high-quality workouts via TV, computer, tablet, and smartphone:

MOSSA Move is free to Y members for 60 days.

Y360 group exercise classes are also free to members for a limited time.

“The Y is the leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose, and each other,” said Vest. “We have received an incredibly supportive response from our members and the community, with many members deciding to continue their membership dues to help us ensure vital services that preserve and protect community.”

Those who need assistance with membership may call the Y Business Center at 828 251 5910.

Providing emergency relief

The community need for child care and food security is great. Please help us continue to provide these essential services by donating to our Community Emergency Response Fund.