CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The YMCA of the Coastal Bend could close permanently if it doesn't raise enough money.
The non-profit said it's facing two major financial problem. The more immediate problem involves the impending loss of insurance. In addition, it experienced a financial shortfall following costly repairs from major fire in February of 2020 and COVID-19. Due to the factors mentioned, insurance costs have risen for the facility and it's facing a $43,000 payment to bind coverage. If the amount is not paid, the insurance will lapse, and the facility would have to close.
Richard Schmidt, the YMCA'S Chairman of the Board when the Board became aware of the problem, staff attempted to raise money for the funds and lower expenses. Board staff has been working to maintain the level of programming, increase membership, and increase fundraising events. However, the YMCA is running out of time. Schmidt said they need to find a way to raise money for the insurance payment as soon as possible. If they don't figure out how to make the payment by the first few weeks of the new year, Schmidt said they'll have to make a decision to close.
If they are able to pay the amount, Schmidt said they should be able to financially sustain themselves. Membership rates are down compared to pre-COVID times, but Schmidt explained, January is a popular time for people to sign up for a gym.
"We're working with a membership program that's in process now." he said. "If we can increase our membership numbers and look at all of our expenses carefully. We believe there won't be difficulty with cashflow in the future."
KRIS 6 News broke the news about YMCA's financial hurdle to several members. They are now pleading the public to help save the YMCA by donating to the non-profit.
"It would be very, very said if it closed. My grandkids look forward to coming and I know I look forward to coming." said Corpus Christi resident Rosemary Castro.
The YMCA of Corpus Christi was built on 417 S. Upper Broadway Street and opened its doors on March 21, 1942. Many residents like Castro and her gym partner Diana Broyles have been members of the facility for so long, it's become a part of their family.
Castro said, "My daughter taught water aerobics in the 80s and my son used to man the front desk in the 80s. And when my mom retired in, I think the 2000s, she started coming here and she came religiously."
"I started coming here in 1967, 68, for the pool. It's the same pool that was here. Then I got my Senior Life Saving, I got certified in that. And then years later when I had children, they came here, and I've been here ever since." Broyles added
In 1990, the YMCA of Corpus Christi began offering outreach services and programs that focused on at-risk youth in under-served neighborhoods. Currently, it offers various programs for every community member of all ages.
"Right now, we have 1,200 members but our influence and effect in the community goes way beyond that." said Schmidt. "We service children and youth, football, basketball, all the various sports programs. They serve the elderly with various programs. There's also outreach. Many people participated in Trunk or Treat which we did Halloween to give a safe place for kids to come to celebrate Halloween and we have programs like that all throughout the year."
The family-friendly aspect and affordability of the programs is what appeals to many parents.
Mother of two, Kristen O'Brien, said she frequently brings her kids to the gym's basketball court. She believes physical activity can empower young people, because she's witnessed it in her children and the group of kids she coaches for a basketball team. She also said childhood obesity is a growing problem in the Coastal Bend and believes having a place dedicated to help kids stay active is beneficial for a child's health and future.
"It's really important to keep kid's minds focused on something like health, improving their body, improving their mind." said O'Brien. "There's not many places in Corpus to bring a whole team to play basketball so it's important to keep the Y going so we can keep bringing these kids in."
Members believe the YMCA is achieving its goal of building a stronger community by working to inspire action to improve people's health, physically, mentally, and socially.
It keeps me out of the hospital and keeps me among friends and it's very important." said Broyles. "I had an older friend, and she asked her doctor if she goes to physical therapy and he said, "No, instead you need to go to the YMCA because you need to be around people. Because the social part, the interaction with other people is just as important as working out with your body."
If you also want to see the YMCA continue its services and you can help, it's accepting donations.
Click here for more information or call (361) 882-1741.