YMCA of Greater Brandywine Expands Food Distribution Across Chester County and Requests Donations from Community

YMCA of Greater Brandywine Expands Food Distribution Across Chester County and Requests Donations from CommunityLeah M. Reynolds, executive director of Kennett Area Community Service (L), Kennett Area Y Executive Director Thomas Gallagher and Britton Elwood, COVID-19 response coordinator for KACS, (R) unpack donated food items from a community member's vehicle.
YMCA collecting food donations from the community

CHESTER COUNTY, PA — The YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW), a non-profit organization comprised of eight YMCA branches serving Chester County, has opened its doors to neighbors struggling to put food on the table as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Soon after the statewide stay-at-home order was issued, the Kennett Area YMCA and Kennett Area Community Services (KACS) partnered to collect and distribute food to those in need. The Kennett Area YMCA has opened its doors to safely serve as KACS’ food collection and distribution center during the pandemic, as well as helping to staff the site with volunteers. More than 11,000 pounds of food was distributed to 350 families in just the first two weeks of the initiative.

tom gallager and denise day
YGBW President & CEO Denise Day and Kennett Area Y Executive Director Thomas Gallagher organize food donations at the Kennett Area YMCA

“With partners like the Kennett Area YMCA providing the necessary space to safely maintain social distancing and mobilizing members to help, we are able to provide food to those needing it in our community. It brings an incredible sense of unity and common purpose,” said Leah M. Reynolds, executive director of KACS.

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Expanding Food Collection & Distribution
As food insecurity continues to grow in Chester County, YGBW has partnered with the Chester County Food Bank, Southern Chester County Opportunity Network (SCCON), Square Root Collective and the United Way of Chester County, to expand food collection and distribution efforts to three more of its branches:

  • Brandywine YMCA, 295 Hurley Road, Coatesville
  • Jennersville YMCA, 880 West Baltimore Pike, West Grove
  • Oscar Lasko YMCA, 1 E Chestnut Street, West Chester

YGBW invites all to donate food at these locations, as well as the Kennett Area YMCA, on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 am – 4 pm. You simply pull up and their volunteers will unload the food from your car safely.

Shelf-stable items most needed are rice, pasta, peanut butter and cereal, as well as canned fish/chicken, canned fruit and vegetables, cereal, tomato sauce, beans and coffee/tea.

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Volunteer-Led Efforts
As YGBW began expanding its efforts, it put a call out for volunteers. Within 24 hours, more than 100 people volunteered to help. Volunteers are trained in how to weigh, clean and package all food donations, while ensuring a safe environment for all.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response from the Y community who want to lend a hand to neighbors who may be struggling,” said Denise Day, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. “The Y’s mission of strengthening community is needed now more than ever and we’re thrilled to be partnering with several organizations in our community to ensure no one goes hungry.”

If you are in need of food, complete this confidential form and the YGBW team will be in touch.

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