Big changes continue to occur at the Richmond County Family YMCA. With a focus on being clean, safe, and healthy, the Y hosted a food drive to benefit the Healthy Harvest Food Bank in Warsaw, on July 13. The afternoon heat and concerns about COVID did not deter enthusiastic YMCA volunteers from gratefully receiving non-perishable food items from members of the community. “So much attention is focused on the health and financial challenges of the pandemic that it is possible to miss the threat of growing food insecurity in Richmond County and the surrounding area during the crisis,” said Shonna Sargent, Center Director for the Richmond County YMCA.
With workforce layoffs and unemployment continuing in the area, the challenges posed to family finances are increasing across the region. However, one constant for everyone is the need to put food on the table. That constant is being seriously eroded during the COVID pandemic. “All five YMCA’s across the region participated in the food drive, because the need is real, and the YMCA wanted to provide a unified, caring response to that need,” said Sargent.
While continuing to serve vulnerable populations in Richmond County during the crisis, renovation and new construction at the YMCA has also continued. The project leaders of Randall Kipp Architecture and The Allen Group have raised the walls and put the new roof on the Fitnasium. “With the bright new look and design inside,” Sargent says, “and with the new asphalt parking lot and Fitnasium being raised, the YMCA in Richmond County is transforming.” Sargent continues, “With all the renovations and facility additions, the bottom line is it will increase our ability to deliver greater numbers of programs and services to families and individuals in our community.”
Much is happening in a short amount of time. The Y reopened clean, safe, and healthy to their members on June 5 and plans are underway for a Grand Opening of the new Fitnasium in mid-September.
While COVID-19 safety challenges continue, the Y is responding prudently to each one. In Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia plan, aggressive cleaning measures, expanded hours, and safety station temperature checks continue for everyone upon entry. Appropriate social distancing is being practiced in wellness classes and includes the spacing of fitness equipment. Sargent states, “Our staff are diligently responding to the safety challenges with cleaning and operating procedures that ensure a healthy member experience for everyone.”