More than 900 turn out for YMCA food program
Turnout was staggering for the Osage Prairie YMCA's Sunday Grocery ry Grab program this past weekend. When the final numbers were tallied, the local Y had distributed food to 940 children, representing a gradual increase from the two previous weeks.
"I think it's gone very well, people are very pleased," said Robin Rusell, YMCA program coordinator for food distribution.
The program is for children and youth age 3-18. The only criteria precluding an individual within that age-group is tied to the school they attend. "If the kids are eating breakfast or lunch at school, they do not qualify to get this food," Rusell confirmed.
Russell said the reason for this is that the respective school is already providing free food to students from the same government-funded program the Y is utilizing, and would be equivalent double-dipping if they received from both.
Russell said the food products differ from week-to-week, but that it amounts to a robust $60-70 worth of grocery items
"We've had really good name-brand food," Russell said. "We've had Tyson's pre-cooked frozen hamburger patties for barbequing. Grilled chicken for fajitas — and tortillas and vegetables to go with that. Yogurt, chocolate milk, and regular milk."
A flyer related to the program states that each individual receives a week's worth of groceries. Additionally, it's equivalent to three meals a day, plus a snack, for seven days.
Those interested in the program must first complete an application. A paper copy can be picked up at the Y. It can also be completed online, by going to the Osage Prairie YMCA's Facebook page, which contains a direct link to the form.
The program kicked off in mid-September, and runs until Dec. 31. Additionally, the is not restricted to Vernon County residents.
"There's no criteria for where they come from," Russell said.
Prepping the food is a massive undertaking, requiring a bevy of volunteers. Russell said around 35 volunteers were present packing bags on Saturday at Osage Prairie. And, then on Sunday, approximately 20 volunteers were present distributing the bags awaiting vehicles. Russell said the Y is most definitely looking for more volunteers.
Russell said if interested, individuals can volunteer both Saturday and Sunday, or on either of the days. She added that volunteers can just show up the day of, but prefers they contact Osage Prairie in advance about their intentions to volunteer.
The Saturday volunteer schedule is from approximately 1-4 p.m. While the Sunday schedule is from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Russell noted that volunteers should arrive 10-15 minutes early, as they hold a group meeting prior to getting underway.
Locations for the Sunday Grocery Grap pickup, are:
• Osage Prairie YMCA, 500 W Highland Ave., Nevada, Mo.
• St. Paul Lutheran Church, 15156 E. Pony Hill Rd., Nevada, Mo.
• Rinehart Christian Church, 9443 S. 900 Rd, Richards, Mo.
• Sheldon Baptist Church, 104 Commercial St., Sheldon, Mo.
Note: See the Nevada Daily Mail's Facebook page for a photo gallery from the two-day event.