FSPY Gives Back

At the Y we focus on giving back and providing support to our neighbors. With our doors open to all, we work every day to bridge the gaps that divide people in our communities and to bring our cause to the people and neighborhoods that need us most. With our members, volunteers, staff and partners, we work to inspire a spirit of service in everyone we touch. From children to seniors, we help people embrace their responsibility to their communities.

Our COVID-19 Response

When our doors closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, we immediately began working to help our neighbors in need. From food and blood drives to checking in on our members and hosting virtual classes, our Y remained “open for good.”

As we’ve reopened, we continue to support the community. Read more about the ways we are doing so here.

Donation Drives

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA collects food, clothing, school supplies, shoes and other items to help those in need both locally and globally. Here are some of the organizations that receive donated items throughout the year:

Immaculate Heart of Mary – Food pantry, Scotch Plains NJ

Emmanuel Cancer Center – Food collection, Clark NJ

Fanwood Presbyterian Church – Food collection Fanwood, NJ

El Centro Hispanoamericano – School supplies, Plainfield, NJ

Operation Chillout Homeless Veterans Outreach – Clothes and water, New Jersey branch

Jeremy’s Giving Tree and Toy Drive
Our giving tree program, in memory of one of our Child Care students, helps us brighten the holidays for local children and families in need. This past year, the program was held virtually and was a huge success. All of the children’s wishes were fulfilled thanks to the generous donations of our members, staff and community.

In 2020, our staff helped 12 local families, including 28 children and teens.

The families receiving gifts are grateful for the community’s support. We received the following from one of our past giving tree families:

“I just wanted to let you know, my daughter had a great Christmas! She loved everything, her favorite was her new bath towel! She said Santa gave her just what she asked for! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for doing what you do! And thank you to the community for making my daughter smile this Christmas!”

In addition, we also provide support to numerous other children through our annual toy drive, working with Heart for Humanity to help distribute gifts to a number of other children in need!  Our Toy Drive has been relied upon for the past 24 years.

Days of Service

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA encourages service to our community beyond the walls of the Y. In the past, FSPY staff and members have volunteered their time and talents to help people in our communities and beyond.

9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance
In the past, staff have helped Mobile Meals of Westfield by delivering meals to those in our area who are unable to shop and prepare their own meals.

Staff also visited Emmanuel Cancer Foundation in Clark, an organization that helps families facing pediatric cancer. They created gift bags, stocked shelves in the food pantry and helped with office work and delivered food items that were donated by Y staff and members.

Martin Luther King Day of Service

For more than a decade, the Scotch Plains/Fanwood community has joined together to remember, learn and give our time on MLK Day. Created by volunteers for volunteers, this day has become a celebration of the interwoven, connected, and compassionate community we create together.

In 2020, this program went virtual, but was still as wonderful and engaging as ever. Several of our staff sit on the planning committee for the event and we hosted a food drive, sock collection for the homeless, Valentine’s for veterans collection and virtual Kindness Rocks activity.  Learn more here.

Here2Help Mental Health Coalition

Here 2 Help is a community-based coalition with a mission of helping improve understanding of mental health issues through increased awareness and education.

The coalition is comprised of passionate volunteers and professional organizations that represent different aspects of mental health including substance abuse, crisis intervention, grief counseling, elder care, domestic violence, suicide prevention and more. Workshops, seminars and mental health first aid training are offered throughout the year and resources are always available through the Here2Health website at https://www.here2helpnj.org.

Youth Volunteers

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA supports and encourages youth volunteers to get involved and give back to our community. Below are some of the programs we have offered so that our young community members can get involved. Please note: These programs are currently on hold due to the current health emergency but we hope to bring them back in the near future.

LIVESTRONG at School

This educational curriculum is provided to students in grades 1 through 8 in our after school program. LIVESTRONG at School stresses the importance of finding a way to talk with kids about cancer in an age-appropriate, hopeful, inspiring and empowering way. Each lesson helps to dispel common myths about cancer, discuss how cancer affects a person and what people can do to support cancer survivors in their communities.

Beyond the Book Club

Beyond The Book Club is a student-led club at the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School that partners with the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA School Age Child Care after school program.

Geared for those interested in going into education or who want to work with children, Beyond The Book Club members create their own lesson plans during a monthly planning meeting. Then, each month the group visits one of the Y’s after school sites to work with the first and second grade students. Lessons include introducing a new language art element, reading a story, discussing a literary concept and a creative craft that’s related to the book. The club helps get kids excited about reading, being creative and using their imaginations.

Youth Works!

Youth Works is an opportunity for youth to volunteer at the Y and a great way to give back and serve the community. Groups meet 1-2 times per month to prepare community service projects, led by High School students.

United for A Cause 5K

Each May, the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood PTA Council partner together to host a 5K and Family 1 mile walk/run. The goal of the event is to celebrate and provide opportunities for health and wellness within the Scotch Plains-Fanwood community. In 2020, the event was held virtually with each participant completing the 5K individually. Proceeds from “United for a Cause” benefit the Scotch Plains-Fanwood PTA Council Health and Wellness Scholarship and LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA, a free twelve-week physical activity program for members of our community recovering from cancer. The “United for a Cause” 5K is a healthy community event that will “give” back to our local families and students.

FSPY in The Commnunity

Throughout the year, the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA usually participates in a number of local events to connect with the people in the communities we serve. We look forward to returning to community events in the future.

Here are some of the events we’ve participated in: 

Fanny Wood Day

Scotch Plains Day

Scotch Plains Memorial Day Parade

Scotch Plains Independence Day Celebration

National Night Out

Community Health Fairs