Jasmin Farmakes started working from home in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her husband was sent to work out of town. With so many changes in their lives since the news of the virus swept through our community in mid-March, their lives have been more chaotic and stress-inducing than ever.
Thankfully the Farmakes family learned about the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties COVID-19 Meal Program, which has been a blessing to her family in more ways than one. Through the program, Jasmin has been able to provide Xenia, her three-year-old daughter, not only access to regular, nutritious meals, but also a sense of hope, routine, and normalcy.
The YMCA COVID-19 Meal Program provides free suppers and snacks in to-go-style bags every week night for children ages 18 and under. This program is made available in partnership with the State of North Dakota and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These organizations know that when school is out of session is a particularly vulnerable time for kids, many of whom rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year.
“The YMCA meal program has been a big stress reliever for our family,” explained Jasmin. “We haven’t had to pay for as much food during this time, so this program really is a ray of hope we need in our lives right now.”
The meals are served at many distribution sites across the FM area and include a healthy, pre-packaged supper and snack. Families may even ask in advanced for additional food to cover weekend meals. “It is nice to have one less thing to worry about,” said Jasmin, “Especially since, for some magical reason, if the food comes out of the bag from the Y’s food pick up, it is automatically tasty, according to Xenia. Not sure why the carrots from the bag taste better than the ones from our fridge, but she eats them without question!”
She also added “We really miss going to the library and/or park every day, but picking up dinner is a small excitement that means a lot to us. It has been a comfort and a new routine for us to grasp on to.”
The YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties has always found ways to help their neighbors in times of crisis. Since their origin in 1886, they have created unique ways to prioritize some of our community’s most pressing needs. Right now, during these uncertain times, their mission has become even more of an anchor that guides them as they support our community’s front lines by helping ensure that children don’t go hungry. They want to help kids continue to be healthy in spirit, mind, and body.
For more information about the YMCA COVID-19 Meal Program including distribution locations, times, and more, please visit ymcacassclay.org/covidmeals. If you are interested in donating, please contact Morgan Montgomery at [email protected]. If you have any further questions or are interested in volunteering for the program, please contact Katie Anderson at [email protected].