(March 25, 2020) – Easton, Md. – On March 16th, the YMCA of the Chesapeake closed the doors to all eleven of its locations across the Delmarva Peninsula to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our communities.
While the doors are closed to Y members, the Y has shifted its resources and opened its doors to support the most pressing needs in the communities it serves.
“The Y has always been more than a gym. For more than 163 years, the Y has walked in the direction of a challenge and we are proud to continue that legacy,” said Robbie Gill, YMCA of the Chesapeake CEO. “We encourage all of our members to ‘stay with us’ by continuing to invest in their memberships so we can maintain vital life-changing and life-saving programs at the Y.”
YMCA of the Chesapeake branches have partnered with local governments and community partners to provide space for, and assist with, the following critical services:
- The Cecil County Family YMCA is on standby as a shelter in care location for Union Hospital, should they need childcare services or overflow beds if the hospitals reach capacity.
- The Kent County Family YMCA is working with local food pantries to continue food distribution to students and seniors
- The Caroline County Family YMCA collaborated with Caroline County Public Schools to deliver meals to families in the Ridgely area and have partnered with a larger group giving meals out at locations from Marydel to Federalsburg. Additionally, a mobile site is set up to give a days worth of meals to each child Mondays – Thursdays and on Thursday, they are provided a bookbag with meals for the weekend.
- In Talbot County, the Easton Family YMCA is pivoting our available resources and staff to provide a shelter of care for children of health care workers, first responders and “essential” employees protecting our community. The Perkins Family YMCA is also serving as a donation drop-off for all food pantries in the Bay Hundred.
- In Dorchester County, the Pauline F. & W. David Robbins Family YMCA is available as a shelter in care location and for food delivery resources, if needed.
- In Wicomico and Worcester counties the Henson and Lower Shore Family YMCAs are on standby as a shelter of care location for emergency and health care workers if the hospital daycare exceeds their capacity as well as for food delivery.
- The David Landsberger Family YMCA continues to assist in delivering meals to 60-70 shut-ins on Chincoteague Island.
- Across all our branches, staff is checking in on all senior members with advice for them to safely stay healthy and active at home
Additionally, the YMCA of the Chesapeake is encourating all membes to stay “healty at home” and is utilizing social media to share workouts, exercises, sports drills and more so members stay healthy and active.
Y members also have free access to online fitness programs through Y360 and Les Mills so they can continue their fitness routines at home.
“We know that membership is meaningful to our members, and that meaning lies in the relationships they have built at the Y. Those relationships are based upon how much they care about our community and want everyone to have the opportunity to thrive – no matter what our world is facing. Thank to all of our members for their continued support of our mission as we work through this crisis together,” said Gill.
About the YMCA of the Chesapeake
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits and the largest Human Service organization on the Eastern Shore; strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the Shore, Ys engage 40,000 members and their families, regardless of age, income or background, to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the Shore’s health and wellbeing, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. The YMCA of the Chesapeake operates facilities in Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Talbot, Queen Anne’s and Wicomico Counties in Maryland and on Chincoteague Island in Virginia. Last year, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,750,000 in assistance to over 16,000 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. Additionally, the Y spent $200,000 on outreach efforts and programming in the communities it serves. For more information, please visit www.ymcachesapeake.org.
Wendy Palmer, Easton Family YMCA Associate Branch Executive Director, checks in children of health care workers for daycare at the Easton Family YMCA.
Brian Byrnes, Branch Executive Director, and Angel Perez, Program Director, of the Caroline County Family YMCA deliver meals to students out of school.