Gyms are starting to open across Georgia, but local YMCA remain closed to do good

Fitness centers in Georgia got the green light from Governor Kemp to open, but you won't be going to the YMCA for a fitness class right now. Ys across metro Atlanta have been open since the pandemic hit, but not in the way you might think. Employees have been busy packing food and serving the community in numerous ways.

Hunger relief is something we do all year long, we stepped up in a big way, to make sure we had more than lunches for children out of school, but for the entire family to make sure no one goes without," said Betsy Mathews, the Cobb Development Director for the YMCA.

The Y works with restaurants and partners to feed the community.

"It comes to us in pallets about 10 to 20 thousand pounds per week, we package it and it goes back out to the community hotspots where it's most needed," said Mathews.

From food to emergency childcare for healthcare workers, first responders, and grocery store workers.

"For those who cannot work from home and have to be on the frontlines for us, this is something the Y can do to ensure their children are cared for in a safe and fun environment," said Lauren Koontz, President of the YMCA Metro Atlanta.

Over the past six weeks, 1400 kids have been part of the childcare program. YMCA Metro Atlanta President Lauren Koontz says they certainly have the room.

"We have tennis courts, soccer fields, we're built to spread kids out and have multiple spaces to do this safely," said Koontz.

Koontz says the YMCA has been in Atlanta for 162 years.  They're more than a gym, they're here for the community.

"Our mission has never changed from helping the mind, body, and spirit. We are not just a gym we are an anchor community institution," said Koontz.

No word yet on when the Y will open back up for fitness, but when it does, it doesn't mean all their assistance to the community will go away, Koontz says they've always helped the community and will continue to do so.

If you need food or other assistance, you can find information on where to get it on the website,