YMCA and Fogo de Chão partner to keep Pittsburghers fed during coronavirus | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

YMCA and Fogo de Chão partner to keep Pittsburghers fed during coronavirus

The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh and Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão have teamed up to provide families in need with emergency meals. 

Fogo de Chão is donating prepackaged meals to the YMCA, which then distributes them to area families via their Y On The Fly van. (Y On The Fly is the YMCA’s mobile program that pops up to bring 90 minutes of activity and healthy snacks to the city’s underserved neighborhoods.) The Fogo packages are delivered three times a week — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — and contain meat and two sides, enough for about two family-sized meals. 

The partnership was created in response to closures of the Homewood and Hazelwood YMCA buildings, two branches of the Pittsburgh YMCA that offer food distributions and emergency food services. These branches serve over 400 members of the community, many who are now on the list for Fogo deliveries. Marisa Williams, associate vice president for community outreach and impact for the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, notes that many of the families receiving the prepackaged meals are food-insecure and are unable to leave their homes during the outbreak for various reasons.

“Understanding that the population we work with lives in chronic crisis, I knew that our food bank distribution would not necessarily answer all of the calls," says Williams.

With this in mind, Williams reached out to Gary White, the sales manager for Fogo’s Pittsburgh branch. In less than a day, everything was in place to start food deliveries from March 30 through the end of May. 

The YMCA is responding to family needs in different ways. Fogo will provide enough food to feed varying family sizes, but Williams notes for a family of 11, delivering a pre-packaged meal doesn’t make sense. In this case, the YMCA will grocery shop for the family using re-allocated funds from BNY Mellon, which sponsors the Y Achievers program. They’re also delivering food from the Homewood distribution center. 

Williams says the program started with around 25 families and, over the coming, weeks, they're hoping to reach 40 families.

‘We know the need is great,” says Williams.

For more information, visit the YMCA's website

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