YMCA kicks off fundraising with a bang

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Thanks to a pair of major donations, the YMCA of Chatham-Kent’s 2024 annual campaign to raise $100,000 is off to a running start.

A gift of $15,000 from TekSavvy Solutions Inc, and another of $5,000 from Waste Connections of Canada were presented to agency recently, to kickoff this year’s drive.

The money raised helps the organization achieve its mission of making sure that Y facilities, programs and services are available to everyone – regardless of their ability to pay.

According to a media release from the Y, the agency provided $168,400 in financial assistance in 2023 for health, fitness and aquatic programs, camp programs and services, and child care and school-age programs. That means that 33 per cent of the membership received some level of support, and with current inflationary pressures, the need is expected to grow.

At the launch, the gathering heard from member Robel A., who shared how important the YMCA is to him and his family.

Robel, who escaped civil war in the Tigray state of Ethiopia as a child, calls the YMCA his “heaven on earth” and a “safe place to heal my heart, mind, body and soul.”

He learned how to swim and attended camp as a youngster and now is back more than a decade later with his wife and five children, utilizing many programs.

“Now it’s basketball, swimming, working out in the weight room and enjoying the steam room,” Robel said. “The Y has upgraded our lives as a family. It’s something you must experience personally.”

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