In unprecedented times, the ‘Y’ steps up with an unprecedented response

Enbridge support is helping YMCAs and YWCAs care for communities during COVID-19

The ‘Y’ has responded in a time of crisis . . . and how.

For nearly 170 years, the YMCA has been delivering positive change across America—with its network now reaching 10,000 communities and counting, and a focus on improving health and well-being.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic—many families are now stretched to the limit, facing childcare limitations and added urgency for essential workers—the YMCA has shifted into overdrive.

The YMCA has launched a nationwide COVID-19 Emergency Services campaign, with safe child-care solutions and food distribution options in communities across the U.S., including the Twin Ports cities of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin.

“On so many days, the ‘Y’ is able to answer the call for help. We are able to come with open hearts and open hands, as servant leaders, to address some of the most pressing issues of our time,” says Sara Cole, President and CEO of the Duluth Area Family YMCA.

“Across America, the Y has stepped up with emergency child care for front-line workers in more than 1,000 locations, and that includes sites in Duluth and Superior. We’re also one of hundreds of Y’s nationwide offering grab-and-go meals for families in a time of economic uncertainty.”

Enbridge is committed to improving quality of life in the communities near our operational footprint. To battle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re working closely with our nonprofit community partners, our closest Indigenous and Tribal neighbors, and local governments to identify where resources are needed most.

We’re accelerating funds to provide relief to those who are most vulnerable—people who depend on food banks, social service agencies, mental health organizations, first responders and healthcare providers—and directing some of those funds to YMCA and YWCA organizations near our projects and operations.

That includes financial support for:

  • Food and child care provided by the Duluth Area Family Y, Superior Douglas County Family Y, Itasca County YMCA (Grand Rapids, MN) and Crossroads YMCA (Griffith, IN)
  • Essential worker child care at the YMCA of Greater Boston
  • The Downtown Family YMCA’s food pantry in Chattanooga, TN
  • The South Shore YMCA’s Germantown Food Pantry in Plymouth, MA
  • The Northern Lights YMCA’s Strong Kids Initiative, which provides financial assistance to more than 1,300 kids, seniors and low-income families in Escanaba, MI
  • Homelessness, job readiness and educational programs at the YWCA in Minot, ND

In Duluth, the Duluth Area Family YMCA will begin delivering four meals in each grab-and-go bag starting the week of May 11, and has partnered with local booksellers to get books in the hands of youth picking up meals, says Cole. The Duluth Y’s early childhood education centers remain open, and the organization has made nearly 2,00 connection calls to seniors during the COVID-19 lockdown, she adds.

“The work we’re doing during the coronavirus pandemic really is the lifeblood of the YMCA’s mission,” says Cole. “And once this crisis passes, the Y will be there to help our communities recover.”