In 1991, the East Side YMCA was renamed the Eldon and Elsie Ward Family YMCA in honor of all the contributions Eldon Ward and his wife made to the community in their lifetime. Almost 25 years later, the Ward Family YMCA is teaming up with the Ward family’s business, E. E. Ward Moving & Storage, to combat food insecurity.
Aja Mays, director of Youth Development at the Ward Family YMCA, says the largest population of families who receive food assistance from the YMCA are families with small children. Mays oversees the after school program where children are provided a snack.
The YMCA follows the standards set by Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to meet nutrition guidelines. Mays explains CACFP sets four components in food provisions; milk, bread, grain, and a fruit or vegetable. A lunch that is provided must meet all four components; a breakfast must meet three of the four components; and a snack must be comprised of two of the four components.“Sometimes, this snack is the most nutritious meal that a child will receive in the day,” Mays explains. “Meeting these requirements allows us to ensure that the children are receiving some form of nutrition.”
Food insecurity has been a growing problem in Ohio over the past several years. Food provision efforts are in need of supplies and resources to meet the the growing demands of families who face food insecurity each day.
Providing meals for families in need is not an easy task. Steve Stevenson, executive director of the Ward Family YMCA, cites budget cuts as one of the main obstacles in their food provision efforts. “When budgets are reduced, the first things that get cut are the food programs,” Stevenson says. “We want to be able to provide more to our community members, but it becomes difficult when the budget shrinks.”
In addition to their food provision efforts, the YMCA facility also offers a gymnasium, lap pool and hot tub, a full workout facility, childcare rooms, and a community garden.
Stevenson says, “We are so excited to be working with E. E. Ward. Everyone knows the stories of Eldon (the namesake of the YMCA) around here.” Eldon Ward was the godfather of E. E. Ward’s current owner, Brian Brooks. “We are happy to be a part of the Ward family.”
Please help us support this great organization with their community efforts at Laps for Lunches on Friday, August 14th from 7-9pm at Grand Prix Karting in Columbus, Ohio. The event will feature a meet-and-greet with NASCAR Xfinity driver, Dakoda Armstrong, a Richard Petty Motorsports show car, and discounted racing. To learn more about Laps for Lunches, please click here.
For more information on the Ward Family YMCA, please click here.