Capital Area YMCA Feeding Families Rain or Shine

May 26, 2020

During these challenging times, the Capital Area YMCA has become an everyday superhero by feeding families in the Trenton community.

While many food access programs have been discontinued due to COVID-19, Capital Area YMCA has increased its services. “Since 85 percent of the students in Trenton are eligible for free- or reduced-price school meals, our food access programs are essential,” said Sam Frisby, CEO of Capital Area YMCA.

The Capital Area YMCA offers two food access programs for students: the Summer Food Access Program, and the Child and Adult Care Program (CACFP). In the past, the Summer Food Access Program has only operated in the summer. However, due to the pandemic, it began much earlier this year. CACFP usually operates as an after-school meal and preschool program but is also acting under emergency orders to feed students during this pandemic.

“Food insecurity has grown significantly due to school closings and the increase in unemployment,” said Frisby. “In the past, a family may have only had to provide one meal per day; now that has increased to three or more meals a day.” 

“Grab and Go” meals are provided Monday through Friday at 14 locations throughout Trenton. Many of the students who participate in the programs are living below the financial poverty line. Since the start of the pandemic, meal distribution has increased dramatically. From March 17 through May 4, a total of 68,986 breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks have been distributed through these programs.

The Capital Area YMCA is currently the largest organization distributing healthy meals in Trenton. “Without the program, many kids would probably go hungry,” stated Khadijah McQueen, Director of Food Access at Capital Area YMCA. “We serve the community in rain or shine.”

Staff members ensure families are practicing social distancing as they quickly grab pre-bagged meals for their kids. Traffic cones are set in place to ensure families keep appropriate distance while picking up their meals.

In addition to CACFP and the Summer Food Access Program, the Capital Area YMCA partners with local restaurants to feed families living in temporary housing. Currently, the YMCA is feeding nearly 60 individuals in a partnership with the “Big Easy” restaurant. Dinner meals are prepared five days a week and delivered to families. More than 2,600 lunch and dinner meals were distributed to these families from mid-March through the beginning of May.

“I am thankful for my wonderful team who has dedicated their lives to serving our community,” said Frisby. “The need in the city for food access is high, and the Y is making a difference.”