SOUTH COUNTY — Each year the South County YMCA raises funds to help people who cannot afford its membership fees. From adults to children to entire families, anyone who wants to live in good health and get fit, the YMCA tries to get them in.
They organize an Annual Giving Campaign, which reaches out to businesses in South County and to the public at large, to help families in need that can benefit from the YMCA and the opportunity to attend. And, many have already taken the time to donate, but the YMCA always needs more; there is always a local need.
The YMCA has an application to assist people with their membership fees. They provide assistance from 5 percent to 50 percent, and though the assistance is provided using the Federal Poverty levels, Executive Director Joe Gonzales asks that people come talk to him as he might be able to help.
With members from throughout the Salinas Valley, some people drop by the YMCA on their commute to work, some after work on their way home, while others who work locally take the opportunity to drop by in the middle of their work day using their lunch hour to utilize the facility.
All money collected in South County goes to help local people and projects. Donations, no matter the amount, provide for outreach and scholarships for programs, including after-school enrichment, youth sports, senior programs, health and wellness programs, summer camps, teen leadership and many more.
Last year they raised $37,000, but when they finished the year they actually gave out close to $56,000 for programs and the subsidies to help people with their memberships, which is why this campaign is so important to the YMCA.
Coming up in the near future they will hold an in-house program they call “Send a Kid to Camp.” It costs $160 for a child to attend camp, not all parents can afford that or they have multiple children and they can’t afford to send them all so none of their children get to go.
The “Send a Kid to Camp” campaign allows members to donate to help youth go to camp. Even if they can’t donate the whole $160, no amount is too small to donate to help with that campaign or others.
They will soon finish up this phase of fundraising and move on to the next phase, but anytime is the right time to donate; they collect throughout the year.
They are open seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. They have Kid Zone hours that can help watch the kids while their parents exercise.
South County YMCA has members from King City all the way north to Gonzales and Chualar. It is located centrally in Soledad at 560 Walker Drive.
They can be found online at centralcoastymca.org and also on Facebook. Call 831-678-1239 for information.