Community Response and Support

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We understand this is a lot of things are changing daily so we plan to send additional updates with specifics.  Below find the latest update from our CEO.

Dear Valued YMCA member, volunteer or participant,

The entire staff and volunteer leadership of our Y deeply appreciate your understanding and patience as we navigate these challenging circumstances related to the Coronavirus. We are all operating in unknown territory right now, and we are working as quickly as we can to keep you updated and address your questions while we also pivot to meet the needs of the community.  Through it all, we have seen a sense of community and spirit of togetherness only possible when faced with such adversity.

Everything we do is guided by our commitment to support our community, and this is more critical now than ever. When you belong to the Y, you are not only a member of a health and wellness facility, you are a member of an organization dedicated to strengthening our community and supporting our friends and neighbors. In difficult times, the Y is always ready to change direction in response to community needs, and find ways to use our resources to offer solutions – and you can help.

OUR Ys COMMUNITY RESPONSE AND SUPPORT
Our Y team has been focused on transitioning our Y’s work to focus on delivering and supporting vital services related to the COVID-19 emergency. These services include:

Emergency Child Care:  We were chosen by the State to provide four emergency childcare centers in three communities serving over 160 children of those serving on the front line.

Food Distribution to Those in Need: We stand beside local schools and food pantries lending our hands to ensure children and families are fed and stay healthy.  This includes over 500 of our own residents living in YMCA affordable housing.

Partnering with Action Inc. in Gloucester to provide temporary shelter at our Cape Ann Y to support for 30 homeless adults so they can remain socially and physically isolated.   

Virtual Exercise & Activities: We know you crave normalcy and miss the faces you see at the Y every day.  We are keeping you connected to our Y and your Y friends in the community through virtual programs and content.  Many of you have already taken advantage of your exclusive member-only content and we look forward to sharing more with you each day.

Staying connected with children and families:  We are contracted by the state and are deeply committed to supporting and protecting over 600 at-risk children whom we continue to call and check in on often.     

Daily Inspiration for a Healthy Mind and Body:  We will continue to offer daily inspirational messages and activities that include actions you can take to cope during this time on our social media platforms.

Supporting our Valued Staff:  Our staff is community members too, which is why we have focused on determining the best way to support our staff, for most of whom there are simply no hours of work available until we can open our doors once more.  We have created an Employee Emergency Relief Fund.  

And we aren’t stopping there, our plan is to broaden support for all of our friends and neighbors in the coming weeks by expanding our operations to perform vital community functions, like converting some of our Ys to become temporary homeless shelters to increase social distancing. These types of emergency response projects will also allow us to create more jobs for our staff.

YOUR MEMBERSHIP:  #StayWithUs
Your membership dollars are more than fees to use our centers, they symbolize your support of the Y and its commitment to the community.
We need all hands on deck and we need your support. By allowing your membership to continue in this time of trouble, you will be a Sustaining Member, and your membership has never mattered more.  Members of our Y are the ones allowing us to carry on a legacy that stretches back over 160 years of community service in a time of need. If you are able and choose to support your Y:

During this time, your membership & program dollars will be considered charitable donations to the efforts we outlined above and allow us the resources to meet whatever needs arise in our community in the weeks ahead.

You do not have to take any action to make this gift. When the Y reopens, you will receive a tax letter indicating the amount you donated If you need help, please let us know. If you are able, please continue to support us over the next couple of months so that we can keep supporting our communities.  Membership dues have been the lifeblood of our mission since before Ys had facilities.

CHANGING YOUR MEMBERSHIP STATUS
We understand if you are facing a difficult or unstable financial situation. Please reach out to your local membership director, who will be happy to share a variety of options with you, including putting your membership on hold.

THE IMPACT ON STAFF
We want to assure you that we are committed to providing all the support we can to assist them during this situation. Yesterday, we were forced by this situation to put most members of our part-time staff into temporary inactive status. While difficult, is was required to make it possible for those staff to collect unemployment benefits during the closure.  To date, we continue to employ 300+ staff, including many full-time teachers, program directors, and housing staff. Together with the Y leadership, they are all working hard to ensure we get our whole team back together as soon as possible.  

EMPLOYEE EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND & EMERGENCY WORK HOURS
We have set up an Employee Emergency Relief Fund which will help those staff who are in need of financial support for essential living expenses and as well as offering limited Emergency Work Hours for staff who are critically in need of the hourly pay.  

We can’t wait to reopen our doors and our arms to our friends and neighbors.  We can’t thank you enough for your support.  

#StrongYStrongCommunity

Sincerely,
Chris Lovasco
President & CEO
YMCA of the North Shore

*Video production generously donated.