Senior Connection and YMCA partner for lunch program

Published 1:58 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Senior Connection in Clanton and the YMCA of Chilton County have partnered to help the YMCA connect with the older individuals in communities across the county. The YMCA is providing lunches to members of Senior Connection every Tuesday, and the partnership started on Feb. 21.

“The YMCA is trying to incorporate the seniors in our community,” Tish Woodham, director of compliance at the YMCA of Chilton County, said. “When we found out we could do this, the first person I called was Vanessa at Senior Connection. That is something we are working towards to grow.”

The YMCA already has a food program through its after-school program for kids, and participated in the Summer Food Service Program to help feed children during the summer months away from school. However, Woodham said there is a need within the senior community as well.

“This is another way for us to be able to reach the community,” Woodham said. “We noticed when we were doing the children’s (food) on the weekend that there is a great need for elders in our communities too.”

There are grant opportunities available to the YMCA if they are able to help feed seniors in their community, a big reason why they are trying to expand their food program to include more seniors in Chilton County. Woodham said she hopes the partnership continues to build, and the YMCA can do this on Tuesdays for as long as they can.

“Tish gave us a call and asked if we could partner together and give the folks something different every week,” Vanessa McKinney, director of Senior Connection, said. “I think it is wonderful, and we are so blessed to be partnering with them. The people are loving the meals, and they can have a choice of what they would like (on Tuesdays).”

Getting the after-school children involved is a part of the next steps in the partnership for Woodham whether it is decorating the bags used to transport the food or creating cards to go inside the bags.

“We have a lot that we want to do, but we are learning as we go along,” Woodham said.

She said the interactions with the seniors and hearing about their lives has been the highlight of the partnership for her so far.

“They are so much fun there,” Woodham said. “You get so much gratification out of something we all take for granted a lot, but they are so thankful to have someone to talk to or someone to serve them a meal.”

The YMCA is going to start their Saturday food drives again where they go out into the communities around Chilton County to pass out food to those in need. The after-school program is doing a food drive as well from March 1-24 taking in canned or non-perishable food items. Items can be dropped off at the YMCA at any time between those dates, and a donation receipt will be given to all donors.

“We will take anything at any time,” Woodham said. “Even businesses such as some of the grocery stores or the farmers in our community, if they have anything they think is going to go bad soon they need to sell, we would be glad to take anything.”

The next YMCA of Chilton County meal at Senior Connection will be served on March 7.

“It is so important for us to partner with them and get the word out about us, and about them,” McKinney said. “We love doing that, especially with the YMCA … It is really special, and we appreciate everything they can do for us, and we can do for them when partnering together.”