YMCA Spreads Kindness with Thanksgiving Baskets and Holiday Angels
Economic insecurity is a daily challenge for tens of thousands of Chester County residents – and is exaggerated during the holiday season.
WEST CHESTER – Many associate November as a time of plenty - cups full of pumpkin spice, plates full of food and hearts full of gratitude. Yet for nearly 25,000 residents of Chester County*, food insecurity will be top of mind this month.
“It is hard to fathom that even here in Chester County, the wealthiest county in the state of Pennsylvania, so many of our neighbors are in need,” said Denise Day, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. “We know there is a need. And we are called to act,” she continued.
Thanksgiving Basket Donations
Day and her staff, located across seven local YMCA branches, are mobilizing members and supporters for a mission of kindness. Members and non-members alike are invited to local branches to participate. Simply visit the membership desk to pick up a Thanksgiving shopping list and shopping bag – and return the bag filled with the makings of a full Thanksgiving meal.
“At the Y, we love to connect members of our community,” explained Day. “Our Thanksgiving Basket program connects those who are able to give with those who need to receive - in a streamlined and anonymous way. Whether you give a meal or get a meal, we guarantee your heart will be filled by participating.”
If you aren’t already a member, the Y is offering an extra incentive to be kind. Non-YMCA members who volunteer to donate a meal as part of the Thanksgiving Basket drive will receive an offer to join the YMCA without the $99 joiner fee.
Holiday Angels, Winter Coat Drive, and More
YMCA-organized missions of kindness will not stop with the Thanksgiving Basket program. The Holiday Angels program, which connects donors with kids who otherwise will not receive holiday gifts, kicks off on November 21. And, the Y partners annually with the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation to provide new winter coats to children in need.
“Kindness is our agenda,” reflects Day. “Yes, during the holidays – but also year-round. It is our daily mission to include and serve the underserved. And we welcome help from the community to fulfill this mission. In 2021 alone, nearly 5,000 volunteers helped us live our mission, giving their time at camps, programs, drives, and more. That is something to be truly grateful for.”
* Estimate based upon most recent (2019) county-level census data cited by Chester County Planning Commission.