KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Meals insecurity is a matter the Tri-Cities neighborhood faces day by day and may have a long-term adverse affect on youngsters.
In keeping with the American Academy of Pediatrics, one in seven youngsters in america lives in a family that struggles to afford meals. Domestically, that quantity is one in 4.
Thankfully, a robust partnership between an area well being care supplier and a neighborhood group is working to deal with these wants. On this situation of HMG Well being Issues, the Daytime Tri-Cities visits the YMCA of Better Kingsport to see a particular program firsthand.
The kitchen contained in the YMCA of Better Kingsport is a busy place. Each weekday morning, they scramble, stack, and bundle nutritious meals. Through the Daytime Tri-Cities go to, they had been joined by leaders from Holston Medical Group (HMG), who volunteered to take an in depth take a look at the neighborhood’s mission.
“As you already know, good diet is essential to all of us, however it’s particularly vital for growth,” mentioned Dr. Cheryl Stanski, Vice President of HMG. “It’s important that youngsters obtain satisfactory therapy for meals insecurity or insufficiency. They face malnutrition, stunted progress and present growth, and weakened immune techniques emotional stress. So it is actually a essential want for our youngsters.”
The YMCA developed a plan in 2020 to increase its meals applications outdoors of the constructing. A few of the meals are literally packaged and delivered off-site to communities and neighborhoods all through the area.
“In reality, it is like a miracle come true,” mentioned KC Cousineau, president and CEO of the YMCA. “As a result of we had been speaking about these items earlier than COVID. After which to see the issue exacerbated, and to ask for funds and assets and other people to step up and assist us in order that we will truly take a dream and construct a kitchen, after which serve dinner to nearly 500 youngsters each days. It has been really magical.”
HMG was among the many first teams to step ahead to assist the YMCA’s mission.
“There’s a funding hole for our program,” Cousineau mentioned. “The meals is supplied on a USDA grant, however for the personnel of the autos, to move the containers. And with gasoline costs as of late, we completely could not transfer ahead with increasing this system with out neighborhood companions like HMG. Due to this fact, your volunteer service and monetary assist are important for us to proceed doing what we’re doing right this moment and develop this system.”
Dr. Stanski mentioned that HMG was delighted to be part of this system.
“HMG is all the time in search of partnership alternatives in our neighborhood, particularly people who tackle root causes of well being,” mentioned Dr. Stanski. “And when the YMCA approached us about this, it was excellent. , we all know that diet is essential. It’s a nice want in our neighborhood and we really feel like a dwelling area.”
This system not solely helps the neighborhood members it feeds; it additionally nurtures the spirit of the volunteers.
“We put together meals for the kids,” mentioned Dr. Stanski. “We discovered about what goes into the meals, how laborious the employees and volunteers work right here to run this program, and it was really wonderful. I had no thought what number of youngsters had been being fed by this program.”
The YMCA of Better Kingsport is trying to increase this system. The group is working to construct one other kitchen in Rogersville and has a aim of 30 websites and 800 meals per day.
If you want to assist both by volunteering or by making a financial contribution, please go to the YMCA of Better Kinsport web site. It’s also possible to study extra about HMG’s Mission in Movement program by visiting their web site.