The Hernando agency that spreads so much sunshine received rays of their own recently, as YMCA of the Suncoast joined the YMCAs of the Tampa Bay in being named a “2020 One Tampa Bay” honoree by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
“One Tampa Bay” is, according to a YMCA news release, a Tampa Bay Business Journal award that honors nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies for their philanthropic efforts. This year’s winners consist of 17 corporate philanthropy honorees and 21 nonprofit organizations, chosen from more than 220 nominations. The YMCAs of Tampa Bay will be featured in a special section of the Tampa Bay Business Journal on November 20.
YMCA of the Suncoast, along with the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, is credited with "stepping in to fill critical voids" in these troubled times. Transitioning their Y facilities to provide emergency relief care for 1,534 children of medical personnel, first responders, and other essential workers during the first months of the pandemic; and providing more than 308,800 hours of safe fun and 15,440 healthy meals to children in partnership with local school districts.
Also, in partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay and other community organizations, Tampa Bay YMCAs served more than 70,000 meals to families in need, providing 1,104 baby care essentials, and 753 cloth masks to community members in need. Y staff collectively reached out to nearly 8,000 senior members to prevent social isolation and elevate their spirits. The YMCA team "also produced virtual resources to help community members stay active, healthy, and connected in their own homes.” YMCA blood drives across Tampa Bay have had a positive impact on 2,637 lives so far. And the YMCA conducted 1,678 virtual reading and Early Head Start sessions to help students continue their education.
So how does this translate to Hernando County? Well according to facts and figures provided by YMCA of the Suncoast, the agency during the period of March 22 - June 30 provided more than 118,000 hours of youth relief care to more than 500 essential worker families. They hosted blood collection drives in conjunction with LifeSouth and OneBlood that impacted more than 832 lives, in partnership with more than Feeding Tampa Bay and other organizations served more than 23,078 meals to people in need, and administered 17,900 virtual classes that involved 2566 hours of Y staff helping them stay healthy and active.
Amber Slusser, Branch Executive Director YMCA of the Suncoast--Hernando County, expressed her appreciation of the Journal's recognition--while also acknowledging the fact that serving the community is its own rich reward.
“We were fortunate to be able to step up and quickly serve the Hernando community by filling some needs and providing services during the pandemic. Our staff welcomed the ability to provide essential relief care for our community so that many could continue to provide the needed services while their kids were safe, having fun and getting their digital learning done," she said. "Our Y staff transitioned engagement and programming to virtual platforms offering online group fitness classes and fitness tips to keep the community active and healthy as well as virtual family activities including art and science projects and storytime. We continued our mobile food pantry through our partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay as well as hosted blood drives to assist LifeSouth with their critical blood supply shortage."
"Our Y facility may not have been fully operational, but our Y didn't stop serving. When serving others is at the hearts of the staff and volunteers of the organization, we can't help but find the ways to continue to serve our community even in unprecedented times," she said. "Our branch feels honored to be part of the YMCAs of Tampa Bay receiving this award.”
In a YMCA release, G. Scott Goyer, President & CEO of the YMCA of the Suncoast, also expresses pride--both in his staff and in the Journal award.
.“We are very proud of the Y staff for their quick mobilization in order to serve community needs,” said Goyer. “We appreciate this recognition and thank our donors and members for their continued support of the YMCA and its mission. Together, we can help our community become a better place in which to live.”
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