– The YMCA Resident Program - A Thank You

The YMCA Resident Program – A Thank You

Dear YMCA Family,

I remember walking into the East Shore YMCA to interview for a lifeguard job. That was 27 years ago.  The first thing I saw when I walked into the lobby was two old chairs that looked like a throne and on a table between those two thrones was a huge, open Bible. Sitting on one of those thrones was a skinny old man decked out in a flannel shirt, tattered cowboy boots and unshaven face. My first thought was how hard it would be do aerobics in those boots, and then my 21-year-old self said, “I went to the wrong place, I am at a homeless shelter. I am going to be late for my interview.”

I didn’t know that The Y in its grassroots days was a hostel, a place where men found refuge when they were down and out. The East Shore Y still operates as that soft place to land for many men when the world has been harsh. Over 80 men call the YMCA home, and, after knowing the residents through the years, it is one of the greatest benefits of my membership.

But the sweetest benefit of my membership was when I met a guy named Chad who personally trained at the Y, taught a few spinning classes, and restocked the vending machines. Within a year I ended up marrying that guy and we are still YMCA proud twenty years later. One day Chad, who still works at the Y, allowed me behind the secret door that only the residents can go beyond and took me upstairs. The Y is full of little rooms with men who live in each one. They get a bed and a dresser and a cable connection! There is a microwave and a bathroom on each floor too. Nothing fancy, very simple, but warm and clean.

So when the COVID-19 crisis hit, my first thought at the Y wasn’t geez, “how am I going to get my work out in? “, but, “oh my goodness, the residents!” They need to eat. They have no stove. They have no fridge. The restaurants are closed. Many have lost their jobs. Many are medically vulnerable. So, I started to cook and deliver 80 meals to the Y a few times a week. And when I feared I would run out of money to buy mass amounts of food, I said a prayer. God whispered to you, our YMCA family, and you sure did deliver.

To date, you have given over $2,000 that the team has been investing in food for the men. Because of your generosity, the residents have a home-cooked meal every other day. That is only because of your kindness, especially in a time where many of us don’t have clue when or if there will be another paycheck. And to the members who have helped me cook, I am so grateful. It is so humbling to be part of the great East Shore family.  We aren’t just a gym. We are the East Shore Y- a colorful group of selfless characters, bound by friendship and a sense of service, partnering and praying together through these uncertain times, a lighthouse in the darkness to the City of Harrisburg.

Thank you doesn’t quite express my gratitude for your help. You are loved appreciated, East Shore YMCA. I tip my hat to the kindest and big-hearted folks in the Harrisburg Area. It is an honor doing life with you!

— Stephanie Krebs

Whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Proverbs 14:31

If you would like to help support the East Shore YMCA Residents, please text YRESIDENTS to 41444 or visit this link to give now. We appreciate your support, now more than ever.

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