In its quest to promote healthy living for all, the Y has focused attention on healthy food and nutrition as important factors contributing to wellness. Every afternoon you can find Abby Jones and Elisabeth Wright bringing bags of food into the Y. With the construction project underway, this dynamic duo has located new spots around the Y to stock healthy food. Fresh oranges, apples, and granola bars are available in the “Gordon Lounge” outside of the pool entrance on the north side of the building. There’s a bowl of fresh fruit at the front desk near the Fieldhouse entrance, and a few feet away is a refrigerator stocked with cheese sticks, fresh fruit, yogurt, and sandwiches (purchased from the school once a week). This healthy food program has taken root at the Y thanks to grants that support food scarcity in our region. In fact, grants provided $2,000 worth of healthy snacks for all in January.
Most days beginning at 2:30 p.m., there are 50-75 youth who visit the Y. As students socialize and exercise, many devour the fresh fruit and healthy snacks. The swim and basketball teams who come to practice, along with the after school Fit Kids, also have access to these healthy snacks as well.
The Y is committed to partnering with others in the community to address food scarcity. Jones mentioned a recent Zoom meeting organized by Holly Stover and the Boothbay Region Community Resource Council (BRCRC) to discuss a community wide initiative to establish a “Food Security Council.” Abby said, “The meeting included the Y, Rotary, and the school principals. One item discussed was the need for healthy cooking and nutrition classes in our region. As the Y is including a teaching kitchen with the renovations, we hope this great idea will become a reality.”
One initiative that we hope can continue this year is the Y’s partnership with Twin Villages Foodbank Farm in Damariscotta and Veggies to Table in Newcastle. With assistance from the Boothbay Food Pantry, these two organic farms donate a variety of fresh vegetables to anyone who wants them. These delicious and healthy veggies were available every Friday afternoon in the Y’s lobby all summer and into the fall.
The Y is grateful for the grants that are directed to our food program, which help support the needs of our community by providing healthy snacks and in turn, nurturing healthy habits. Serving as a hub for nutritional support has become an important priority for the Y.