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YMCA Metro Atlanta kicks off fourth annual Days of Service initiative

Tomorrow, volunteers will pack 250 food and toiletry bags. (Photo by Kat Goduco, courtesy of Decatur Family YMCA.)

By Hannah E. Jones

The YMCA of Metro Atlanta is back with its Annual Days of Service on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10, a two-day initiative that offers volunteer opportunities for communities around the metro area. This year, the Decatur Family YMCA is hosting a packing event to provide food and toiletries bags to families in the Y’s Extended Stay Hotel program.

The YMCA Annual Days of Service was established in 2018 as a celebration of YMCA of Metro Atlanta’s 160th anniversary and encourages staff, community partners and residents to find ways to serve their community.

There are over 15 service opportunities hosted by the Y around the metro area this weekend. (Photo by Kat Goduco, courtesy of Decatur Family YMCA.)

On Saturday, Sept. 10, volunteers will gather at the Decatur Y, located at 1100 Clairemont Ave., to pack 250 bags, each filled with toiletries and nonperishable foods like canned fruits and vegetables, tuna and pasta. The packing event will go from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The Extended Stay Hotel program, exclusive to the Decatur location, helps children and families living in three extended stay hotels along Memorial Drive. Each week, the team visits Haven Hotel, Budget Hotel and United Inn & Suites to distribute food, clothes, toiletries and small household items, serving about 60 families. 

“We’re on a mission to provide critical basic needs for families with children living in the hotels to build trust, improve educational outcomes and break the cycles of poverty,” Decatur Executive Director Stacey Stevens said. “We look at food as the vehicle. By building trust and creating access to food and a network of resources, our ultimate goal is to move these families beyond the motel and into stable and safe environments.”

She continued: “It’s really about relationship building and trust because a lot of families have been promised things in the past and there hasn’t been any follow through.” 

This work is done through partnerships with organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank and St. Vincent de Paul Georgia

The weekend’s events are still open for additional volunteers, and Stevens hopes that folks will take the time to serve their fellow community members. In total, there are over 15 service opportunities around the metro area this weekend.

“I hope that tomorrow’s volunteer day creates awareness and understanding of folks living in these extended stay hotels, which are not unique to DeKalb County or Memorial Drive,” she said. “I hope the opportunity tomorrow creates awareness, education and more volunteers with us on a weekly basis.”

Folks interested in signing up for tomorrow’s packing event can click here, and those wanting to check out other opportunities can go here.

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Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native and Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for two newspapers. Hannah managed the Arts and Living section of The Signal, Georgia State’s independent award-winning newspaper. She has a passion for environmental issues, urban life and telling a good story. Hannah can be reached at hannah@saportareport.com.

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