PICKENS COUNTY – The Pickens County YMCA has received a $5,000 grant from J. C. Penney’s new charitable giving program, JCP Cares.
“As a company founded on the Golden Rule, J.C. Penney has a strong legacy of giving back,” said Miki Woodard, president of JCP Cares and vice president of philanthropy at J. C. Penney. “We are firmly committed to organizations like the Y, which truly make a difference in their communities.”
J. C. Penney, through JCP Cares, has announced that the YMCA is its premier charity for the month of January, 2013, and according to a press release issued by the Pickens County YMCA, J.C. Penney Team members will invite customers throughout the month of January to round up their purchases in stores to the nearest whole dollar and donate the difference to the Y.
“The support of J.C. Penney enhances our efforts to serve as many children as possible with meaningful, high-quality afterschool programming,” said Alida Gardiner, Easley branch executive. “By working together we can not only keep children safer, but also help provide them with lasting benefits, including healthier lifestyles, improved social skills and an enhanced academic performance.”
The program is designed to provide school-aged children with the necessary support to attend afterschool functions at the YMCA.
According to officials, this program will provide the children of Easley, who could otherwise not afford to become involved in the YMCA, an opportunity to join the afterschool programs.
The Pickens County YMCA’s afterschool program in Easley serves approximately 175 students each year, and this year’s donation will mark the second consecutive year that J.C. Penney has supported the Easley YMCA’s afterschool programs.
“Last year, we were awarded the J.C. Penney $5,000 grant as well. It opens up more scholarship money so that we are able to serve more kids in this area. We serve five elementary schools and Gettys Middle for the Easley program and that money gives us the opportunity to get some more kids in here,” Gardiner said.
According to Gardiner, the YMCA has seen an increase in financial demands.
“This year, we’ve had an increased demand for financial assistance and we have not been able to get the money we need to support all the kids that need help and need to be here, so we had to put some kids on a waiting list because we ran out of scholarship money,” Gardiner said. “This $5,000 is helping us to move some of those kids off the waiting list and get them into the program.”
Gardiner said that in spite of the economy, the kids still need the programs provided by the YMCA.
“With the economy and people losing jobs, and as a lot of families go into a harder time, the kids still need a good place to come where they are supported, encouraged, and loved,” Gardiner said. “Kids need to be in that type of environment and this money is really a blessing for us to provide some more kids with that opportunity.”