Since its founding in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA (SAY) has worked with its neighbors, side-by-side, to meet the need of our communities. Providing programs and facilities to nurture youth, strengthen minds, and bodies, and most importantly, instill a sense of social responsibility to uplift and help those in need for a stronger, happier, and healthier community.
These neighbors include many cause driven partners, who for almost a decade have helped the Y find creative solutions to easing food insecurity in our local communities, like summer food pantries and supplemental weekend meals for school children. In 2020, a dire need grew out of the pandemic, and the SAY began distributing food directly out of the Y to families who need it the most. Fast forward to 2022, and the Y operates 3 food distribution days each month out of the Summit YMCA, in addition to a delivery service to families in Summit, Berkeley Heights, New Providence, and Springfield who may have no means of transportation, are at home with an infant or sick child, or are elderly.
From Friday, November 18 – Monday, November 21, the Summit Area YMCA hosted 3 additional Thanksgiving food distributions. With the help of 40 volunteers, 59 deliveries and donations organized by the Community Food Bank Of New Jersey (CFBNJ) including Summit's Frozen Turkey Drive, the Silver Liming Foundation, and The Oldendorp Group, the Y provided over 3,500 lbs. of food, including 60-turkeys, 117-chicken roasters, and 141-holiday boxes of Thanksgiving groceries to ensure 191 families in need were guaranteed a bountiful thanksgiving meal!
The holiday boxes contained green beans, stuffing, corn bread, rice, cranberry sauce, cream of mushroom soup, mac and cheese, apple sauce, and brown gravy. 10 special families, identified with a greater significant need, received similar holiday meal boxes donated by The Oldendorp Group, that included turkeys, pies, and a gift card to Shoprite for additional grocery items.
Zander Oldendorp of The Oldendorp Group told the Y, “I live in Summit, and we started doing this about 5 years ago. It always amazed me to hear that there were so many families in Summit that needed dinners, needed food, didn’t have food on the table to celebrate such a special holiday. And we’re thankful that we’re able to provide to these families and hopefully we can continue to do it for many years to come.”
At the Berkeley Heights YMCA on Sunday, the Silver Liming Foundation organized 25 volunteers, mostly high school students, to help pack and deliver Thanksgiving meal kits for 19 local families in Berkeley Heights, New Providence, Springfield, and Summit.
"In years past, before the pandemic, many people focused on just homeless people, but it's people like you and I, every single day that may have a mortgage payment, they have a car payment, car insurance," said Stephanie, with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey (via CBS 2 News Channel). The cost of a holiday meal is up dramatically this year, with the price of turkeys at an increase of 23%, and staples like eggs, butter, and flour costing 50% more. With many families struggling to make ends meet in general, when it comes to food nutrition becomes the last priority, if they have any choice in it at all.
According to Feeding America, 650,000 people in New Jersey don't know where their next meal will come from, including 175,000 children. "I think people need to understand it's not just people in poverty; there's a middle class who… have food insecurities just as well," said Daryl Walker, with CFBNJ.
The Summit Area YMCA is proud of its efforts in supporting our community members in the capacity they need most. Patty Facchinei, Summit Area YMCA Volunteer Coordinator shared on Monday, “One woman picking up for herself and her friend told me how appreciative she and her friend were to have not only this Thanksgiving food, but everything else the Y does throughout the year, like the new Diaper Program. She went on to say that her friend is a single mother of 3 and is struggling to make ends meet. She can hardly afford food because of how expensive food prices are, her kids are growing and eating so much, it’s hard to keep up with".
Mirna, another recipient, sent a thank you message to the Y on Tuesday, "This program has been very helpful for me. It not only supports my economy but also my health because of the wonderful food we receive. And besides this, you also help us with any concerns about different services for the community. I would sincerely like to thank you for fighting the hunger and poverty in New Jersey. God bless you"!
Patty said, “Many people thanked me for coming out in the cold to help them and they were sorry that it was so cold for us. I told them that when you are doing something that makes you feel good, you don’t feel the cold. Somehow, helping others and doing what you love with a warm heart, is what keeps you warm".
On behalf of all the receiving families, the Y is thankful for the support and love received from its partner organizations, volunteers, and all the donors who helped bring these Thanksgiving meals and blessings into so many homes this year. When we reflect on what the season is about, it's the sharing and giving thanks for what we have, and we're truly thankful for the connection we have with all of you! We cherish those who are a part of our Y family and your continued support in our mission to strengthen our community.
In this season of giving, please consider your gift of volunteer time! The Y is always in need of amazing people like you to volunteer to these efforts and help make a difference in our community. Heartfelt volunteer opportunities, like food distribution assistance are available year-round.
Drivers are needed every Thursday to pick up and deliver food packs and produce to Summit Schools.
Volunteers are needed 3x per month to organize and bag groceries at the Summit YMCA and deliver them locally to families in Summit, Berkeley Heights, New Providence, or Springfield whom may have no means of transportation, are at home with an infant or sick child, or are elderly.
As part of our mission to strengthen our community the Summit Area YMCA partners with like-minded organizations to provide a variety of free resources to support the needs of local families, like Food Assistance, New Eyes and the Diaper & Period Program. Learn more about what programs we offer so that you can share the information with those need it most!
Have questions or want to bring our attention to any under-served needs within our community, causes you support or get involved by becoming a community partner or volunteer, please contact us:
Financial Aid & Volunteer Coordinator
SUMMIT AREA YMCA
(908)273-3330 Ext. 1174
Mission Advancement & Development Director
SUMMIT AREA YMCA
In 1886, we were founded as the Young Men's Christian Association, but today, we are The Y. An association that values, and is made stronger by, its diverse people. We stand for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility — For a better us. We are committed to creating equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, age, disability, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive culture in which our four core values — responsibility, honesty, caring and respect — are integral to everyday operations.
Each year, as one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations, the Summit Area YMCA serves more than 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the New Jersey communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Our history is rooted in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those in need.
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