The Thanksgiving holiday may officially be on Thursday, but on this past Monday, there was much to be thankful for in Lynn. As part of a city-wide effort, the Lynn YMCA distributed 200 turkeys and Stop & Shop gift cards to children, families, and residents of the Y.
The turkeys came thanks to donor and Lynn resident Michael Quintana – who also personally helped to deliver the birds to the Y and other local organizations fighting food insecurity including the Boys & Girls Club, Gregg Neighborhood House, and Washington S.T.E.M. Elementary. Stop & Shop of Massachusetts generously donated hundreds of gift cards that will allow a family to create their own favorite sides and desserts. Stop & Shop also provided the turkeys to Quintana and others, as part of their Turkey Express initiative withe 22,000 turkeys distributed across five states.
The donation means a lot to Quintana who describes himself as a “Lynn resident. Born and raised.” Quintana donated turkeys for eight years. “At first, it was just to give back to the less fortunate families,” Quintana told The Daily Item. “I had a lot of assistance growing up and I had a lot of support from strangers. They were really superheroes in the community. I figured if I was ever in a position to give back, I would. I’m happy I’m able to give back and I’m blessed to be in this position.”
The donation comes at a critical time. Food insecurity has doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic and is higher among households with children. The Lynn YMCA pivoted to emergency food relief in the spring, ramping up services and providing over 25,000lbs of groceries and meals in 2020.
Senior Executive Director Andrea Baez knows just how important these donations are for the families at the Y during the holidays in particular, saying “Pre-COVID19, food insecurity was already an issue in our community. So being able to partner with Stop & Shop, Alma Cares, and Mikey Quintana reveals the true spirit of support for Lynn families that is alive here. The ability to ensure 200 families have a thanksgiving meal is the heart of the YMCA’s focus on Social Responsibility, and the Lynn Y has made a commitment to battling food insecurity in our community. Without this generous support, we would not be able to help those who have been hit hard during the pandemic, and provide some kind of normalcy during these challenging times.”