Sunshine serves as the source and inspiration of a massive giving effort hosted by The YMCA of the Suncoast’s Hernando County YMCA, which is in the process of delivering 100 ‘goody bags’ to senior members who–in these uncertain times–may not be able to participate in their favorite activities in person at their local Y. And they may lack the high tech expertise to participate in the agency’s virtual activities for seniors.
“Without their favorite activities, many of these seniors were facing social isolation,” explained Amber Slusser, Executive Director, YMCA of the Suncoast – Hernando County. “We decided to deliver some sunshine.”
Identifying 100 currently inactive members of the YMCA of the Suncoast – Hernando County’s SilverSneakers® program, “an innovative health, exercise and wellness program helping older adults live healthy, active lifestyles” (https://www.ymcasuncoast.org/silver), YMCA staff members thought of “a way to say we’re still here for them.”
Putting their plan into action, Slusser and a handful of staff members and volunteers are personally delivering reusable Staywell tote bags filled with donated items like pens, notepads, cold compresses, a coupon for a free glucose machine, a coupon for a free chicken sandwich, snacks and more. Community sponsors for this effort include Centene/Staywell, Chick-Fil-A, Bayfront Health, Terlep Chiropractic, 4 Corners Pharmacy, and Hernando County Community Coalition.
Putting all social distancing measures in place, including social distancing and the wearing of masks among delivery people, YMCA staff began their deliveries Sept. 2.
“Some have been home and others have been a contactless delivery. We have delivered about 20 bags so far,” said Slusser. “Overall members have been pleasantly surprised. They are shocked at first as to why the Y is at their home but when I shared what we were doing, they were more than tickled. I explain to them that some of our Y staff and volunteers are reaching out to about 100 SilverSneaker members that we may not have been seeing as much. We were dropping off these Goodie bags full of snacks and items put together by some of our community partners as a way to say that we were thinking of them and that we missed them. We wanted to stop by to brighten their day.”
This mission, Slusser found, was easily accomplished.
“They were so appreciative and the inquisitive looks turned to big smiles,” she said. “Some would talk about why they haven’t been in for a different reason than COVID, like our member Dottie who is having an issue with her foot right now.”
And as much as the people of the Hernando YMCA gave that day, Slusser discovered, they got so much more in return.
“Definitely warms the heart to see them smile.”
To give to the YMCA of the Suncoast, so that they can continue to give to so many others, visit https://www.ymcasuncoast.org/give-better-us.To bring smiles to others with your own good news and stories of giving, send your submissions to Hernando Sun community reporter Megan Hussey at [email protected] Show us your ‘Sun’shine!