In early 2019, The Lynn YMCA was awarded a $2,000 grant for the first time from the Whole Kids Foundation to help make their Garden Club and Healthy Kids Kitchen programs more sustainable.

Whole Kids Foundation is a charitable organization founded by Whole Foods Market that provides children with access to healthy food choices through partnerships with schools, educators and organizations. Their goals include helping kids learn to love fresh, nutritious and whole foods, increasing access to and consumption of healthy foods in school, encouraging community action that supports healthier kids, and ending the childhood obesity epidemic.

Health and wellness have always been of importance to the Y, but it is exemplified in the Garden Club & Healthy Kids Kitchen where youth at the Lynn YMCA have the opportunity to learn about gardening, cooking, and nutrition. Youth are engaged in the entire process, hands-on, from seed to table. The programs are part of the Y’s Drop-In Youth Center, which provides affordable after school and summer camp enrichment program to nearly 800 youth a day through a variety of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility focused programs.

The Lynn YMCA has been an anchor in the community for nearly 150 years. With a mission to build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities, The Y provides service to more than 20,000 people annually, and offers programming for people at every age and every stage in life. The Garden Club was created in 2015 as a way to introduce green space for growing fruits and vegetables to our local youth. This was particularly transformative for many students who didn’t know where their food came from. Lynn is one of the top ten cities in MA where there is a “Grocery Gap” facing its citizens; which is defined as areas with both lower incomes and a lack of fully stocked and accessible grocery stores according to the Mass Dept. of Public Health.

Thanks to Whole Kids, The Lynn YMCA can continue to build strong kids, families and communities through their Garden Club and Healthy Kids Kitchen Program. This grant support will support the staff in creating a stronger and more sustainable program for youth to participate in and enrich the lives and health of the people served daily.