Advancing Equity

The Crossroads YMCA continues to reflect on recent community and national events. In this time of uncertainty and change, we recognize that the YMCA needs to be a leader in advancing the equity and inclusion of all our members, colleagues, and communities that we serve. We have been working with our staff teams to listen, learn, and lead a culture of opportunity and inclusivity for all.

As the YMCA, our cause is strengthening communities. Every day we work side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. We believe that all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, economic status, or any other consideration have equal value and deserve equal access to opportunities and respect. Racism and discrimination have no place in this endeavor.

The Crossroads YMCA is dedicated to making sure that you feel welcome, valued, and safe at the Y. This commitment is happening throughout our organization. We aspire to be an ally in the fight for racial justice and economic equality within our communities. We believe that by listening, learning, and leading, we will continue to reach that goal.

Volunteer with Us

If you are interested in volunteering on our Advancing Equity Team, please contact Nicole Ochoa at 219 321 8771 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Volunteer Opportunities

Mega Mobile Market

What: Crossroads YMCA volunteers in partnership with the NWI Food Bank will help at the Mega Mobile Market to distribute food to the NWI community by placing food boxes into the trunk of the recipient’s car.

Where: NWI Foodbank, 6490 Broadway, Merrillville, IN 46410

Day & Time: September 11, 8:15-11:15 am

Register: All volunteers are asked to pre-register their participation at the following button:

Togetherhood Clean-Up Day

What: Togetherhood Clean-Up Day. Volunteers will come together to clean up the beach/lake front in the City of Whiting.

Where: Lakefront Park in Whiting, 1500 Park Road, Whiting, IN

Day & Time: Saturday, September 25 - 8:00am-12:00pm
8:00-8:30am – Registration
8:30-11:00am – Cleaning up the beach/lake front
11:00am-12:00pm – Lunch and Wrap Up

Help Around the House

What: Helping our neighbors at St. Jude House. Volunteers will help complete simple chores around the St. Jude House facility like washing windows or light yard work!

Where: St Jude House, 12490 Marshall St, Crown Point, IN 46307

Day & Time: October 7, 1-5:00pm


Pantry Pack Program

Thank you to all volunteers who helped with the pickup and delivery of pantry packs. This program was set up to provide covid relief to families and individuals who were unable or did not have access to nutritional food. The NWI Foodbank created pre-packaged boxes of food and delivered a 30-pound box of donated or pre-purchased food to a partner non-profit for their enrolled clients/members to pick up on site while there for services. This eliminates the transportation barrier some people may have in gaining access to food from a local food pantry. In addition, this ensures the client/member has a minimum of 25 meals each month and frees up limited financial resources they have for other basic needs like housing and healthcare.

This program closes August 31.

With the food shortages and the job layoffs, the food pantry helped me provide for my family without stressing to figure out what to eat. The items provided some of my kid’s favorite food which made us happy. - Jodie B.

I was so thankful to get the pantry pack. My one son loved eating the lasagna and soup that we received. They both enjoyed getting to have pancakes in the morning. It was so nice that they provided it to families.- Janice G.

I assisted the YMCA for the first time during a Pantry Pack. There is nothing better than volunteering for the communities in which we live and serve. The YMCA gives so much to the underserved population in NWI. I can’t wait to immerse myself with more volunteer opportunities! - Heather Caudillo, Peoples Bank

Food Drive

On behalf of the Advancing Equity Committee, the Crossroads YMCA would like to give a hearty thank you to all members and employees who dropped off food for our food drive held June 28 through July 16. Through your donations we delivered over 2,000 pounds of food to the NWI Foodbank for distribution. Thank you for your contribution.

Mobile Market

In partnership with the NWI Foodbank our July 29 mini mobile market at the Hammond Family YMCA was a great success! Enthusiastic volunteers distributed food to 138 individuals. Our volunteers had a fun time distributing these foods to the community. Jeff Cobb, Program Coordinator for the foodbank described us as “high energy” says, A.E.C. member, Nicole Ochoa. “Who wouldn’t be high energy knowing that their efforts are helping to put food on the table of those who need it? For the advancing equity team, these are the events that move us, that let us know that genuine concern for others will be rewarded with smiles, thankfulness and appreciation. Our goal was to send that van full of food back to the foodbank empty and we did just that! And we look forward to doing it again and again. So be on the lookout for the next mobile market at one or more of our YMCA branches.”

“It is great to be part of an organization that helps do their part with social responsibility by closing the gap with food insecurity. Not only does this help the community but reinforces our core values by providing opportunities for staff to participate in giving back to the community we serve”. Hammond Family YMCA Executive Director, Emily Packard.

HeartLVolunteer Testimonials HeartR

JeffCobbJeff Cobb

Program Associate
Food Bank of Northwest Indiana

As a Program Associate for the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, I have the pleasure of assisting in our overall mission “to feed people today, and end hunger tomorrow by inspiring and collaborating with our community.” Partnering with various organizations, like the Hammond YMCA, to provide food assistance is a blessing.

Growing up, I spent time participating in sporting/physical activities at the Hammond YMCA. And now 20 years later, I’m working with them to feed our community. It’s amazing how life comes full circle. The Hammond YMCA provided a group of high energy staff and volunteers, who helped host a very impactful food distribution that served 138 individuals. The Hammond YMCA made the families feel welcome and removed any shame associated with needing groceries. Many people left with confident smiles due to being able to feed their families. YMCA team member Nicole Ochoa played a major role in making the day successful.

The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana relies on volunteers to help us address hunger in our community on a daily basis. Each year, more than 4,000 individuals, families, and groups, share their time and talents to assist with our hunger relief efforts throughout Lake and Porter Counties. Each volunteer experience is unique and fulfilling for our volunteers, and makes a tremendous difference in the lives of the families we serve. The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana offers a number of dynamic and flexible volunteer opportunities for individuals or groups. To find out more, visit:

JeffCobbYesi Garibay

Mini Mobile Market w/NWI Food Bank
Southlake YMCA

Volunteering at the mobile market was a special experience for me and I am so grateful I was able to help distribute and give back to those who came. Knowing that I physically made a slight difference within our community and feeling like I made their day even better to those that came is such an amazing thing to feel. I will never forget all the smiles, laughs, and expressed gratefulness I received as I loaded the food into their cars. I am really looking forward to the next mobile market!


JeffCobbJeremy DeBold

Mini Mobile Market w/NWI Food Bank
Southlake YMCA

Working with the Foodbank of Northwest Indiana in distributing food at the Hammond YMCA was a fantastic experience. It's so refreshing and humbling putting in the work and seeing the good we can do when we come together as a community. Being able to meet and serve our Hammond neighbors in such an impactful way is one of the reasons I love working at the Y and being on the Advancing Equity Committee. I look forward to bringing more opportunities like this to our CRYMCA teams and community!


Mini Mobile Market w/NWI Food Bank

Advancing Equity Members


Jay Buckmaster



Becky Cheek



Dominique Maclin



Elena Dwyre



Jeremy DeBold



Kedar Miller



Natalie Galindo



Nicole Ochoa



Sasha Cano



Stephanie Madison



Dr. Ugochi Okoro



Yesi Garibay