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By Shawna Tello
Jackson YMCA 

(June 6, 2020 3:08 PM) While we were hoping the Governor’s office would allow us to open our doors early this month, we are continuing to meet community needs and refine our re-opening plans for the safety of our members, visitors and guests. Closing our doors, however, has enabled us to open many new ones.

In addition to supplying meals to students, adults and families, we have distributed personal needs items, provided showers for homeless individuals and families, and placed portable restrooms outside our building. We learned this was a need due to many local businesses and organizations being closed.

We also have solidified partnerships with organizations that are similar to ours. During this time we have had the opportunity to pause, reflect on how we can best serve the community and refocus. And this is not just the Y – it is happening all over the community.

In the last few weeks, for example, I have gotten a firsthand look at the Compassionate Ministries of Jackson County. They have a massive team of volunteers who are distributing food throughout the county. They provide meal kits for us – and these kits are wonderful. They include everything you need to create a complete meal. I didn’t know the extent of their work prior to this health crisis – but I am so moved by their commitment and people who are giving up their personal time to make this happen.

Jackson Public Schools is another one of the unsung heroes. Their Food Service is doing a fantastic job of providing healthy options in their breakfasts, lunches and dinners and then distributing them to locations throughout the county. I can’t say enough about the work they are doing.

We also know many people are disappointed that so many events have been canceled due to the pandemic. I am excited about our Virtual 5K event, which is happening at Ys across Michigan. The event is all about celebrating our collective community spirit. Along with giving people a goal to work towards, the Virtual 5K is a fundraiser; proceeds will help support our community work.

Register by June 15 and complete the 5K – run, walk, or combine the two – by June 30. More information is available on our website, JacksonYMCA.org.

And, we have exciting news about our group exercise classes. Now that Governor Whitmer is allowing outdoor exercise classes, we will be launching a new schedule with a wide variety of classes with our amazing instructors. Make sure to watch our Facebook page and website for details!

We are continuing to focus on the positive – and look forward to the day we can once again welcome everyone through our doors.

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