CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The YMCA is a big part of our community and like so many other organizations, they have struggled.
But even while facing massive layoffs and major financial struggles, they’ve still managed to do what they can to support the community.
Carla Horry is on the frontlines working with COVID-19 patients at Novant hospital.
"I work 12 hours a day, I am part of the frontlines," Horry said.
When schools closed last March she needed help with her two kids and was surprised when she learned her local Y had a program every day where kids of healthcare workers could do remote learning at a YMCA branch for free.
"It's been a wonderful thing," she said.
The special program was thanks to community donations because the YMCA, like so many non-profits and businesses, is struggling.
The executive vice president of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, Cesar Silva, said, "We had to furlough most of our full-time employees and just about every part-time employee we had – 4,000 employees furloughed."
They should have had $100 million in revenue in 2020 – instead, they were 40 million short and they’re projecting the same for 2021.
"We lost more than 50% of our current memberships," Silva said.
Of the 19 branches in the Charlotte region, four have stayed permanently closed and youth sports were canceled last year.
But there are also signs of hope. The YMCA is bringing back spring soccer and the camps they successfully ran last summer will be back this summer.
And they’re still hosting hundreds of kids every day for remote learning while their parents are at work.
"At the end of the day, they’re helping folks that really need the help," Horry said.
"The Y always steps up if there’s a need in the community and this time was no different," Silva added.
YMCAs across the state also helped feed almost a million people in the last year.