$25,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation will help the YMCA offer two after-school meal, assistance programs.

$25,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation will help the YMCA offer two after-school meal, assistance programs.

ymcagrant
Ross Johnson, left, and Scott McCreless

 

Media release: For the past six years, the YMCA of Rome and Floyd County has collaborated with many local and national organizations, and together served free lunches at up to six summer outreach sites.

Starting in September, the Y will serve many of these same children in two free after-school programs that include a meal and assistance with educational needs. The $25,000 Coca-Cola Foundation grant allows the Y to continue these strong programs to help foster relationships with the stakeholders in several school districts, with a primary focus of improving health and nutritional wellness, and with secondary benefits in the areas of academic achievement and self-worth for the children most under served in Floyd County.

The task of accomplishing the goals of this program is not an easy one – refreshing a community at the ground level requires creative, compassionate, and self motivated individuals. Coupled with the strong support of community partners who recognize all children deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential and nothing is more fundamental to their development than having consistent access to healthy meals and a safe place to learn & play.

Thank you to the Coca-Cola Foundation for being a part of this vital Floyd County program. Our community is home to some of the most severe poverty in the United States; the percentage of children living in poverty and food uncertainty in Floyd County has been steadily increasing to more than 31 percent compared to national rate of 22 percent. We are 5 percent higher than most other counties in Georgia.

Floyd County has more children per capita in state custody than any other county in the state. Child abuse and neglect are big concerns, and the Y knows these issues are related to issues of poverty, mental health and substance abuse. The Y feels education and healthy living are what will drive at-risk children toward safety and economic security.

The Y’s out-of-school food outreach programs are not designed to directly eliminate poverty and child abuse but rather to target physical wellness and student achievement — and perhaps help provide families with tools to escape poverty. This vital community Y program hopes to continue to build relationships with students, teachers, families and multiple community and corporate leaders, with a primary focus of improving healthy and nutritional wellness, and with secondary benefits in the areas of self-confidence, self-worth, and academics.

For more, contact Stephanie McElhone, Community Outreach Director, at smcelhone@ymcarome.org

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