Choco-lotta: A night of impact, support…and chocolate!
The 16th annual Choco-lotta hosted by YMCA of Bucks County was held last month, providing an evening of impact, support and chocolate.
The event serves as a fundraiser for the Quakertown branch with proceeds benefiting the organization’s annual campaign, funding ‘Kids to Camp’, financial assistance and other community impact programs. This year, over $75,000 was raised at the event, with over $22,000 of that pledged during a live ‘Kids to Camp’ auction enabling 101 youth and teens to attend summer camp based on their individual needs and situation.
Over 200 people attended the event held on the campus of DeSales University. The beach-themed evening, entitled ‘The Tides of March’, featured silent and live auctions, elegant food stations and chocolate desserts. Auction items included art, casual and fine dining experiences, jewelry, technology and more.
The evening program included a video highlighting the impact that YMCA financial assistance makes in the lives of local families. This year’s featured recipient spoke in a video about the impact that Y financial assistance and childcare programs made in the lives of each member of her family. Returning to school to become a physician’s assistant, this local mother described the impact that YMCA Financial Assistance programs and childcare made in the care of her two children as she pursued her educational goals and her husband worked to support their young family.
“Having that support was such a blessing and enabled me to keep my family together while pursuing the education that will better provide for our future,” she explained, “that’s something you can never put a price tag on.”
A long running event under the leadership of retired, longtime CEO Pat Edwards, this year was the first Choco-lotta hosted by the newly merged YMCA of Bucks County, which includes the former Upper Bucks YMCA with Central Bucks Family YMCA and Lower Bucks Family YMCAs. The organizations merged in January to better serve Bucks County.
Collectively, the branches of YMCA of Bucks County now serve more than 60,600 members and participants annually, and provided nearly $5 million in charitable community impact in 2018. Community impact provided by the Y comes in many shapes and sizes, most notably their financial assistance programs that help send children to camp. Impact programs provided by the Y to the community include Veterans Wellness, THRIVE for survivors of cancer and their families and free memberships for local 7th graders. Many of these impact programs will be offered in the Quakertown branch in 2019.
The Choco-lotta event will lead to an ongoing annual campaign association-wide to raise funds for vital programs and services. In 2018, 52 of the 384 youth attending summer camp at the Quakertown branch attended with some form of financial assistance. The total amount of financial assistance granted for summer camp was $48,378. An additional $110,000 in financial assistance was granted to over 340 individuals for programs other than camp that included membership assistance and scholarship for programs and childcare.
The annual campaign is a vital fundraiser aimed at providing services to those who need help across the county. In 2019, the county-wide fundraising goal is over $2 million which will enable individuals in Bucks County the support they need.
“At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. We’re so proud to bring the legacy of three great organizations together so that we can combine resources to ensure high quality YMCA services across the county,” said President/CEO Zane Moore. “We continue our commitment to working side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to improve their health and to learn, grow and thrive at the Y.”
The Y gratefully acknowledges the individuals, businesses, board and staff who donated items to the auction and wishes to thank the volunteer committee who made the evening possible through their contributions.