The Lakeland Hills Family YMCA partners with numerous organizations throughout the year to fulfill the requests of food, clothing, school supplies, Christmas presents, and much more. The Y works with multiple nonprofits to secure donations, which have increased because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. When the Market Street Mission of Paterson asked the Y to help with their recent clothing drive for winter coats and accessories, Community Service Director Robb Elko was doubtful...
he would be able to receive donations on a large scale, as the Y has been accustomed to in the past. "Our local community residents are always so generous when providing donations for the charitable causes our Y supports throughout the year. I didn't think that in these tumultuous times people would be able to respond as they have in the past, with dozens of coats, jackets, hats, scarves and mittens, which is all part of the Winter Clothing Drive we were sponsoring with the Market Street Mission", Robb said.
The Winter Clothing Drive was held from October 1 - 15 and the donations not only came in quickly, they came in by the bagful! Robb was very surprised but also very happy to see the tremendous response to help those in need. Bags of hats and scarves were dropped off to the Y, some sporting new tags indicating they were not previously worn. The Lakeland Hills Family YMCA was able to provide over 300 winter clothing items for the Market Street Mission. In the past few months of the Pandemic, The Y has held 3 blood drives with the American Red Cross, with 2 more coming up in November and December. They have also held weekly free food distribution boxes with fresh produce, perishables, and shelf-stable food items as well, in partnership with the Seashore Fruit & Produce Company, the Community Food Bank of NJ, and the NJ YMCA State Alliance.
The Lakeland Hills Family YMCA has also held 2 flu-shot clinics in conjunction with the pharmacy team of Acme of Denville, giving 129 free flu shots to all residents of the local communities it serves. The response from the community was tremendous, as the flu-shot clinics were held safely outdoors following all protocols and procedures, under the Y's covered pavilion in a natural wooded setting which is nestled at the back of the Y's property on Fanny Road in Mountain Lakes. This allowed individuals to feel comfortable being outside and socially distanced as each patiently waited to receive their flu shot.
Knowing that mental wellness is just is important as physical fitness, this summer the Y held all their outdoor fitness classes free for the community. With 14 classes ranging from yoga to boot camp, each week over 170 individuals participated in the hour-long classes. Additionally, all classes were offered for both Y members and non-members, thereby providing much-needed spirit, mind and body wellness. The Y also offered free access to YMCA360, a suite of video presentations for various fitness classes, along with virtual programming from many of their wellness partners, including LifeFitness and Les Mills.
The Lakeland Hills Family YMCA has always been a community resource for Morris County residents, but never more so than during the COVID-19 Pandemic. It's new President and CEO, Alex Martinez, believes that the organization's 3 YMCA areas of focus is truly its best asset. "Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility is the foundation of our Y. Parents find a safe, nurturing environment for their children, our program offerings bring families together for year-round fun, and our community service initiatives provide support and opportunities for all of us to give back". Alex continued, "We have the most qualified fitness and coaching staff in the industry, with technologically superior equipment and modern facilities. We are at the forefront of every safety protocol and procedure available throughout our facility, from our Infant and Toddler Care Program, Early Childhood Learning Center, our Aquatic Program, and our Health and Wellness Center."
This fall the Y has multiple events for its members and the community: A member fitness challenge is scheduled for early November, followed by a family and community event, a Virtual 5K Turkey Trot. It has also kicked off its annual financial assistance campaign, Give a Kid the Y, to help children and families in the local community with summer camp, preschool, and more. The Lakeland Hills Family YMCA continues to be the center of the community.
For more information on the Y, please email its Director of Marketing, Rosemary Linder Day, at RosemaryL@Lhymca.com.
325 Columbia Turnpike, Suite 101
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