Rye YMCA Volunteers Step Up

Greta and Claudia Murdoch crocheted 43 infant caps

The goal of the Rye Y’s Togetherhood committee is to engage volunteers in service projects that help local nonprofits and build community. Although the “together” part of the program has been thwarted in recent months, Y members have still found ways to serve during the Y’s pandemic-related closure.

During May and June, seven volunteers knitted and crocheted 88 infant caps and three baby blankets for clients of Open Door Family Medical Centers. Rye resident Claudia Murdoch taught her 12-year old daughter Greta how to crochet for the project. Murdoch noted that the more hats Greta created, the more her confidence grew. “She had fun making the hats and she found it relaxing. It was also important for me to engage her in an activity that focuses on doing something for others.”

The knitting and crocheting team grew in July after Denise Woodin sent out the word that the next Togetherhood project would be creating baby blankets for economically vulnerable families served by The Sharing Shelf in Port Chester. As the Rye Y’s Director of Community Impact and Social Responsibility, Woodin coordinates the Togetherhood program.

“Like many people during this difficult time, we’ve discovered how much can be accomplished virtually and from home,” she observed. “Sixteen women have completed or are working on beautiful blankets that will be cherished by the families that receive them. And thanks to Poppy’s Café, which let us use its outdoor tables and chairs, we’ve even been able to get together safely in small groups.”

The most recent Togetherhood project, held in late July, was a “Drive-By Food Drive” for the Rye-based Bread of Life pantry. Community and Y members delivered their non-perishable food items to the Y’s parking lot, where Rye Neck High School sophomores Jaime Latorre and Gabriel Tan, masked and gloved, lifted the donations from trunks and back seats. Families from the Y’s Summer Childcare program also donated several bags of food during drop-off and pick-up times. The food drive has been a summer tradition at the Y since 2015, with the Togetherhood Committee partnering with summer camp staff and families to restock Bread of Life’s shelves.

“With hunger rising because of pandemic-related job loss and illness, Bread of Life needs our help more than ever,” Woodin noted. “We were happy to play a small part in making sure that our neighbors can put food on the table.”

For more information about Togetherhood community service projects, contact Denise Woodin at denise@ryeymca.org.

Jaime Latorre and Gabriel Tan, Rye Neck High School sophomores, sort donations during a Rye Y food drive for Bread of Life pantry.