Amherst breadmaker's employees donate $90,000 to YMCA
The 87 employees of Amherst's Weston Bakeries facility have presented a $92,000 cheque to the YMCA for its Strong Kids Campaign.
AMHERST – Each year the Strong Kids Campaign helps more than 100 people enjoy the benefits of membership with the Cumberland YMCA.
The annual fundraising campaign received huge boost Friday when employees and management from Amherst’s Weston Bakeries facility presented a cheque for more than $92,000.
The cheque, representing more than $45,000 raised by management and employees and a matching amount from the corporation through Wonder Cares, will help the Cumberland YMCA continue to provide subsidized memberships and programs through Strong Kids.
“It’s a tremendous boost for our Strong Kids Campaign,” Cumberland YMCA board chairman Dale Fawthrop said. “The money we raise through Strong Kids goes to support children and families who can’t afford Y memberships or programs. Our philosophy is that no child or family is left behind and that everyone who needs support and financial assistance to take part in any of our programs or to be a member should have it.”
Fawthrop said the YMCA has grown to include more than 1,200 members. Of that number, 135 are on subsidized memberships while even more are participating through YMCA programs – like child-care – on a subsidized basis.
YMCA CEO Trina Clarke said the annual campaign usually has a $75,000 goal, but it has found it difficult to meet its goal the last couple of years because of the YMCA’s ongoing capital campaign.
“This will not only help us achieve our goal this year, but it’s going to help us with those sponsorships for several years,” Clarke said.
Plant manager Tyler McLeod said the program has continued to grow over the last four years, from the $37,000 raised for the Cumberland Early Intervention Program four years ago, to $77,000 for Camp Tidnish last year and $92,000 for Strong Kids this year.
He continues to be amazed at how his operation with just under 90 employees raises the most in the corporation on a per capita basis.
“Every year the employees vote on who to support and it’s their choice. They support the organization that means the most to them,” McLeod said. “A lot of people here either go to the YMCA themselves or know someone who does. They know how much of an impact the YMCA has on the community and it’s who they chose to support this year.”
He said the importance of the Strong Kids Campaign helped with their efforts. Weston employees worked with the YMCA at the Pumpkin Run and sold chocolate bars at the Downtown Street Party.
Weston employees are also partnering with the YMCA in its Roaring 20s fundraiser.
He said it says a lot about the determination of the staff at the Amherst plant. He said more than $21,000 of the amount was raised through payroll deduction, while there were ticket draws, chocolate bar sales and other events to raise the money.
He also thanked the community for playing a role in the initiative, adding the first 400 customers to visit the plant’s thrift store on Feb. 14 will receive a free loaf of bread.
Clarke said her organization has also learned a lot from their Weston counterparts.
“The Y has been raising funds in this community for decades and working with this team at Westons we learned a lot of things about staff engagement,” Clarke said. “I was so impressed with what they did to bring staff together. They had 100 per cent participation in payroll deduction. Not only did we get this wonderful cheque but we learned some things about fundraising that we’re going to implement in our activities.”