Grantee Blog 2020

Responding to a Food Insecurity Crisis

Responding to a Food Insecurity Crisis

As the pandemic raged on and unemployment reached unprecedented levels, the Wayne YMCA activated to respond to the growing food insecurity crisis in our community in two important ways.  First, after an initial cessation of operations, we re-opened our winter farmer’s market and moved from a bi-weekly market to weekly market.  With permission from the Wayne Township Health Department, we implemented a pre-order only model where customers would drive up and receive their order without contact.

It became clear just how important this service was as cars drove up, many containing seniors too fearful to shop in the grocery stores, with occupants displaying a combination of trepidation and relief in their eyes.  Re-opening and expanding the market operation allowed us to meet a need in the community, provide some relief to the under stocked grocery stores, and provide a source of income for our farmers/vendors.

While the market resumed operations with the YMCA facility closed, Y staff began to quarterback an effort to address food insecurity in partnership with the Wayne Public Schools, Wayne Department of Senior and Social Services, Wayne Interfaith Network Food Pantry, the Community Food Bank of NJ and a myriad of other local non-profits and grassroots organizations.  Under the umbrella of Wayne United, the Y worked with our partners to coordinate a weekly food distribution for 200 families in the community, as well as an ongoing community-wide food drive.

With a focus on families with children receiving free and reduced lunches as well as those receiving food assistance benefits or who are otherwise in need of food assistance, we have been working to educate the community about food insecurity while addressing a pressing community need.

As the pandemic rages on, we are creating a sustainable, community-wide approach to meeting the needs of those experiencing ongoing food insecurity.

About the Grantee

Wayne YMCA

The Wayne YMCA is charitable nonprofit organization that serves as the center of community and culture in Wayne Township. We are a powerful association of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. At the Y, strengthening community FOR ALL is our cause.