Children and Youth

San Benito County YMCA starts fundraising campaign

Paine’s Restaurant lunch kicks off this year’s funding drive.
Parents Veronica Sanchez and Jennifer Lee at the March 5 fundraiser. Photo by Carmel de Bertaut.

Over 100 people gathered March 5 at Paine’s Restaurant for a lunch to help launch a fundraising campaign for the San Benito County YMCA. They hope to raise $110,000.

“We raise funds to give financial assistance to our members, children in afterschool [programs], children in summer camp, facility members, seniors, seniors programs,” branch director Mayra Zendejas told BenitoLink at the kickoff.

The group at the March 5 meeting included staff, former program recipients, board members and partners, as well as local school board members. Currently, the county’s YMCA has over 1,200 members, including 650 families. Depending on need, the organization pays 5 percent to 50 percent of membership fees.

Several members gave personal testimonies of their experiences with the YMCA. Veronica Sanchez, a single mother of three sons in Hollister, said she feels relieved her boys have a suitable place to spend free time.

“For a few hours a day they are in a safe environment,” Sanchez said. She told BenitoLink her sons love it there and that the staff go above and beyond. “I was late one day, I am never late. They made sure everything was okay and greeted me with a smile when I got there.”

Another parent, Jennifer Lee, called the afterschool program a “hidden gem.”


Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.