West Long Branch, NJ (January 21, 2019) – YMCAs of Monmouth County announced a collaborative initiative to provide relief to individuals and families in Monmouth County impacted by the recent government shutdown at their 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Breakfast, held today at Branches in West Long Branch.

“In the spirit of Dr. King, the YMCA is proud to put our mission into action to lift our neighbors in need whose lives have been impacted by the current situation in our country,” said Laurie Goganzer, president and chief executive officer of The Community YMCA. “YMCAs in Monmouth County are pleased to open our doors and welcome families affected by the shutdown during this difficult time.”

The Community YMCA and YMCA of Western Monmouth County are offering free access to Y branches and childcare payment relief to current furloughed employees of the federal government for the duration of the shutdown. Affected families who participate in YMCA before and after school programs, preschool in Matawan, and YMCA childcare programs in Freehold may also inquire about modified payment arrangements to ensure continued access to childcare support without disruption to the family routine.

“Federal employees and their families are welcome to visit our Ys during this time and can access the same membership benefits as adult or family members,” Goganzer said. Additionally, the Ys will waive the month of dues for existing Y members impacted by the shutdown, Goganzer said.

The commemorative breakfast, hosted each year by The Community YMCA and YMCA of Western Monmouth County, celebrates the life and teachings of Dr. King. This year’s event was attended by nearly 300 people from across Monmouth County.

The Rev. Ronald L. Sparks, pastor of Bethel AMC Church in Freehold, presented the keynote address at the event. Local students winning this year’s Dr. King essay contest were Solange Skarecki, a sophomore at Asbury Park High School, and Ned Bryant, Jr., a junior at Freehold Regional High School.

Also at the event, thanks to the generosity of attendees, hundreds of new and gently used books were collected in support of Bridge of Books Foundation, which provides an ongoing source of books to underserved children throughout New Jersey.

For more information on the relief campaign, visit www.cymca.org/shutdown-relief. To participate, current furloughed federal government employees should visit the Welcome Center or Membership Department at the Red Bank Family YMCA, Freehold YMCA or Old Bridge YMCA, and show proof of current employment and a valid photo ID.

About The Community YMCA

The Y is a leading nonprofit charity that strengthens communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Community YMCA serves more than 20,000 residents in greater Monmouth County, NJ through programs such as: preschool, before and after school care, summer day camp, teen leadership, arts enrichment, health and wellness and personal and family counseling. In 2017, the Y provided $871,250 in financial assistance and program subsidies to strengthen 1,746 children and families in Monmouth County. For more information, visit TheCommunityYMCA.org.

About The YMCA of Western Monmouth County

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For over 120 years, the YMCA of Western Monmouth County has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. In 2017, the YMCA of Western Monmouth County provided over $395,000 in financial assistance to the children, families and seniors of our community.  For more information, visit www.ymcanj.org.