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      YMCA begins annual campaign for those in need

      Its mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

      The Long Branch Area YMCA in Macon kicked of its annual "Building Strong Kids" campaign Monday night at Noland's Catering.

      The goal of the campaign is to raise money for those who want to attend the YMCA, but can't afford the fees.

      ??Our YMCA serves Macon and Shelby counties,?? Executive Director Angela Prenger said. ??This year we will give away over $41,000 in assistance, and so we've helped over 500 people participate in the YMCA that may have otherwise not been able to do so.??

      The campaign chair also spoke about how it is necessary for families to realize how important the YMCA is.

      ??I know my family will personally say they know when I haven??t been to the Y in a couple of days because I??m crazy!?? Sonja Legan said. ??So, it's a good release for us. It??s a good thing for me to take our kids and be apart of (the YMCA) so they can see how fitness should be apart of your life.??

      More than 400 people are benefiting from the discounted rate, which pays up to 75 percent of the fees.

      The goal for the campaign is to raise $42,000.

      To qualify for the discounted rate you have to meet with Prenger, and you do have to re-apply every year.

      Historical Campaign Information:

      2004: Goal was to raise $20,000 and they raised $21,230

      2005: Goal was to raise $25,000 and they raised $25,230

      2006: Goal was to raise $30,000 and they raised $31,575

      2007: Goal was to raise $35,000 and they raised $37,940

      2008: Goal was to raise $40,000 and they raised $37,185

      2009: Goal was to raise $40,000 and they raised $32,215

      2010: Goal was to raise $42,000 and they raised $38,504

      2011: Goal was to raise $42,000 and they raised $41,182