The Portage Township YMCA is currently celebrating 30 days of advocacy, and to help raise support for its community programs, the Portage Township YMCA has invited many local, state, and federal legislators to come and see the YMCA’s programs for themselves. On Wednesday, August 31, Congressman Frank Mrvan came out to volunteer for the YMCA’s federally funded food program and got to understand the program on a more intimate level. Everyone was excited to talk to Mrvan about the food program and the positive impact the Portage Township YMCA and its partners have had on the community.
Shannon Burhans, president, and CEO of the Portage Township YMCA was delighted that Mrvan came out to volunteer and show some support for the food program. She feels that allowing legislators to personally see the programs they have a direct impact on can make a huge difference and do a lot of good for the community.
“They work so hard coming up with ways to support us, but I don’t know that they always get the opportunity to see how it impacts our communities. So, this allows them to see and feel and touch and just really be connected,” said Burhans.
Mrvan spent an hour preparing nutritious, well-rounded meals that will be provided to the community’s children for free through the YMCA food program. Mrvan is grateful for experiences such as this one because he feels they help him become a stronger representative of the community.
“We are always in the community, always making sure we’re going to different agencies. When we’re invited we always try our very best to be there. What it does is allow us to be better members of congress because we can see exactly what is going on,” said Mrvan.
Mrvan was proud of both the program and the hardworking people who made the program successful. He’s glad he got the opportunity to see it up close—it reminded him of his days working as the North Township Trustee.
“I’m pretty proud to be here and see the direct result of the hard work they do every single day,” said Mrvan.
The Portage Township YMCA and its medical partner, NorthShore Health Centers, have worked hard to create programs that will aid the community. The food program will provide free meals to children Monday through Friday from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Each meal is nutritiously balanced, consisting of five components: dairy, protein, fruit, vegetables, and whole grain. The Portage Township YMCA hopes that the food program will provide for children in need, as well as have some educational value.
“Obviously the program helps tackle food insecurity, but it also brings awareness and helps teach kids and adults what their plate should look like to keep us all healthy and happy and active,” said Burhans.
The Portage Township YMCA and its partners are currently working on raising funds to be able to provide food for adults as well, but it will take the community’s continued support and awareness to make it happen. Inviting Indiana’s local, state, and federal legislators was ultimately a great way to raise awareness for these programs, and Portage Township YMCA will continue to adamantly do so.
To learn more about the Portage Township YMCA and its medical partner, NorthShore, visit these websites: http://www.ymcaofportage.org/, https://northshorehealth.org/.