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YMCA boosting efforts to feed kids

by on March 27, 2020 10:15 AM

PHILIPSBURG — The gym doors may be closed due to the coronavirus, but the Moshannon Valley YMCA continues to do what it does best: ensure needy children don’t go hungry.

Mel Curtis, branch director, spoke from the Y’s baseball complex, now a converted food warehouse and sorting center. When asked, “What have you been up to?” Curtis said, “What haven’t we been up to?"

Just on March 24, the Y’s Anti-Hunger Program coordinated the delivery of dropand-go emergency bags of food for children (age 18 and under) at 19 sites across Centre and parts of Clearfield counties.

“It’s been crazy,” Curtis said. “A lot of people have stepped up to the plate. A lot of businesses have been helping us. From a standpoint of volunteerism, it’s phenomenal.”

Genna Distributing of Philipsburg has supplied ice and a truck to keep milk cool during transport. Coca-Cola, a program partner, donated skids of bottled water. A truck driver from Minnesota on his way to deliver food to a school couldn’t drop his load because the school was closed, so he donated it to the Y. Area restaurants are also donating food, and the Penn State Housing and Food Services department gave its fresh produce a new purpose by giving it to the Anti-Hunger Program.

“People aren’t finding the food they usually get at the store,” Curtis said. “One or more parent may be laid-off, and families are being cautious with finances. All the funding and donations that are coming in now go strictly to feeding children.”

The Philipsburg Y is also offering its delivery services to an organization that provides food to senior citizens and veterans.

Last week, the YMCA’s gymnasium was packed with food. Now, the Y is down to about one-fifth of the supplies it originally had. Curtis said the suppliers he normally uses are having trouble finding food, too, but he’s confident the program will keep going.

“Where we’re going is a total unknown,” Curtis said. “We’re going to feed kids as long as we can. We’re exploring different avenues to make sure that happens.”


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