Thursday, September 24, 2020

Many Y Functions Continue Despite COVID-19 Crisis


Photo by Quentin Roux | Marco’s iconic YMCA of South Collier obviously has empty lots at the moment, but many important functions continue.


It’s largely closed due to the pandemic, but in essence, the heart of the YMCA of South Collier (Marco Y) stays open. 

Open to The Needs of The Hungry 

“We continue to partner with the Publix Stores, The Bagel Shop and Starbucks to provide bread and baked goods to impact 400 people daily,” says CEO Cindy Love-Abounader.  

Volunteers pick up the goods and deliver to different locations on Marco and in East Naples. 

Open to The Needs of The Front-Lines Personnel, First Responders, Healthcare Workers and Essential Workers 

“These heroes are on the frontlines and have enough to worry about. A safe place for their children to continue to learn, play and grow shouldn’t be one of them,” Love-Abounader says.  

The Y provides care for schoolage children from 7 AM to 5 PM, with schoolwork assistance from staff. 

Open to The Needs of Seniors Who Might Feel Lonely, Isolated, and Vulnerable 

“We are committed to helping them feel connected during this scary time,” Love-Abounader states. “We are calling our senior members daily to checkin.” 

Open to The Needs of The Vast Majority of Members Who Like to Workout and Adhere to The Y’s “Healthy Living” Motto 

“We are also providing virtual workouts with our Y team with more information to come on that. For now, Join Stacy Witthoff at 6 AM on Facebook.” 

Love-Abounader’s overall message to Y members, Y supporters and potential new members is simply: Stay with us. 

Submitted Photo | CEO Cindy Love-Abounader has a message for members as well as non-members: “Stay with us.”

“For more than 43 years,” she says, “the Y has continuously evolved to meet the changing needs of our community. And today, our community is going through unprecedented challenges. 

“Each year, your Y reaches more than 10,000 people across South Collier County community through programs that help everyone reach their full potential, including the diabetes prevention program, afterschool and summer camp programs, the Safety Around Water program, senior activities, and Togetherhood programs—such as the daily bread run feeding 400 people a day. 

Since the COVID-19 situation arose, Love-Abounader added, the Y shifted its focus and responded quickly as the needs in Marco changed. 

We have partnered with the Community Foundation of Collier County with Collier Comes Together Project to provide assistance to Marco workers who have been unemployed with rent and utility’s needs.  

“The Marco Island Chamber is also involved in helping with this assistance with a focus on helping businesses to find those needs for their workers and ensuring voices are heard.  

“For food needs, we are asking folks to support Our Daily Bread Food Pantry on Marco. This work is essential to our community, and the Y is in a unique position to convene these services.  

“But we cannot continue this critical mission without support. If you are a Y member and are able, please consider continuing your membership with us. Your membership dollars help us continue this important work. 

For anyone who is not a Y member, please consider joining or donating today to help support our efforts. You can do so by visiting marcoymca.org or call our Welcome Team 8 – 12, Monday through Friday at 239-394-3144. 

There is a link on the Y’s website for “Collier Comes Together”- Community Foundation Project and a link to help sustain your YMCA.  

“We are just as eager as everyone to reopen our doors, and when that time comes, we know it will be an exciting day, filled with celebration,” Love-Abounader says. “Until then, we will continue to do the work that is needed to keep our children safe, our seniors connected and our community healthy. But we can’t do it alone. Many Blessings to all, and please stay with us.” 

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