Community has helped the ‘Y’

Published 3:41 pm Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Joni Mitchell once sang that “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” But thanks to the support of the Atmore business community and countless other individuals, we won’t need to know the feeling of losing our YMCA.

It’s still hard to believe. After all, just a few weeks ago, the Atmore Area YMCA’s board of directors announced plans to shut the doors for good by Aug. 29. Since that time, several local businesses and individuals have opened their wallets and said that the YMCA is an important part of our community and it is worth saving.

In late July, Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union committed to a $10,000 donation, and also agreed to pledge $6,000 a year for three years. Alto Products pledged $6,000 a year for three to five years, and both the Atmore Rotary Club and Atmore Lions Club made pledges of $5,000.

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Even more recently, United Bank announced a commitment of $17,000, and First National Bank & Trust pledged $8,500 — $500 a month until December 2015. There are no doubt countless other donations, both from large businesses and from civic-minded individuals, that have also helped to save our YMCA.

Of course, the battle is not done. The funding that has been collected so far will allow the organization to keep its doors open at least through the end of the year. This community support will need to continue in future years, in order for this important part of our city to remain open. We can all do our part, whether by joining as a member, or making a donation.

Our YMCA serves our entire community, but especially offers activities and exercise opportunities for our senior citizens and children. If the YMCA would have closed, there was no convenient one-stop location where they could get these same activities and services.

So, Joni, Atmore definitely knows what it’s got. And we’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep it.