If the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we inherently take an awful lot for granted. A perfect example is an organization that is right in our back yard here in Hamilton, The Hamilton Area YMCA that happens to be Hamilton’s largest non-profit organization.
The Hamilton Area YMCA began serving our community in 1951, meeting the needs of a growing community. The current building, which opened its doors in 1991, occupies the same site as the original temporary facility built in 1984 where so many of our residents remember learning how to swim or joining their first baseball or soccer team.
We all drive past the facility on Whitehorse Avenue, across from the Hamilton Police station, hundreds of times a year without ever really thinking about or knowing how much they do and have done for our community. Did you know that they help tens of thousands of people every year?
The YMCA is much more than just a camp, a place to learn to swim or a place to exercise — they are part of one of the world’s largest social service organizations, responding to the diverse needs of people and communities on six continents. Open to all faiths, races, abilities, ages and incomes, the Y currently serves over 45 million kids and families worldwide with programs designed to meet local needs.
Our Hamilton YMCA is so much more than just a “gym & swim”. Membership fees and donations provide childcare for those working families who need secure and safe care for their children before and after school, they support programs for children and adults with special needs through our SKOR and SOAR programs, they touch so many lives through our healthy living programs which focus on Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer rehab, and diabetes and weight management. Some of the most impactful are the social interaction and senior and youth programming and recreation that the YMCA offers daily to over 13,000 local residents.
The bottom line is they provide essential programs and services that build strong, confident kids; healthy, active adults; and thriving communities.
But this Global Crisis is threatening to take all that away from us and from our community.
While the facilities doors may be closed to the public, the staff of the Hamilton YMCA are working harder than ever to help our community during this crisis. They may be considered “non-essential”, but the truth is they are mission critical to our community during this crisis!
They are holding an emergency blood drives, helping deliver lunches to those who need, and providing daily virtual workouts, virtual online family activities, personal outreach to our most vulnerable senior population, collecting food for local food banks and even penned letters to nursing homes and so much more! They have also been approved to offer a full-day child care program for essential personnel to make sure the medical professionals in our community have a safe place for their children to stay as they care for a growing number of our loved ones during this difficult time.
Because the doors have been closed and without monthly membership dues and donations that keep the organization going, the financial impact has been devastating, just as it has for many businesses and organizations.
All of us here in Hamilton have, at some time, endured our share of hard times. It has always been together as a community that we have pulled through those times and come out even stronger.
The Hamilton YMCA has been serving the community for over 70 years and it is time for us to come together to keep that tradition alive to be able to continue to serve the community for another 70 years and beyond.
How You Can Help!
Stay with Us– Although Monthly Membership Payments have been suspended you can opt in to keep paying your monthly membership dues
If you are a current member of the YMCA consider keeping your membership active during this time so that we can remain fully focused on our efforts to help within our community. Our initiatives to help our community during this time are outlined below. Should you choose to keep your membership active, please know how deeply grateful we are for your generosity. Click here to access our Membership change form.
You can make a tax deducible donation online through the Hamilton Area’s YMCA’s secure website. Every dollar is greatly appreciated and will go along way help.
You can make a tax deducible donation on Facebook through the YMCA Facebook Page.