MAPLEWOOD, NJ - South Mountain YMCA supporters, members, and staff will kickoff “Calling All Superheroes,” on Jan. 22. Organizers hope this year’s campaign will raise $175,000 to address pressing community concerns and open access to services for those who cannot afford them.

“You don’t need to wear a cape to be a superhero. It requires only a desire to help those in need and the fortitude to follow through, assured that good can always triumph even when times seem dark,” South Mountain YMCA Executive Director James Goodger said. Goodger will dress as the self-created superhero Super Duck at the kickoff, which will be held at the Hanover Manor in East Hanover.

“Every donation has power that is magnified by the community joining forces to invest in YMCA programs that are making an impact and improving lives every day,” Goodger said.

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The money raised during the six-week campaign will support local children, families and adults in need, he said. The South Mountain YMCA and the other six branches of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges have set a collective goal of $1.1 million.

“The Metro YMCA and its branches are committed to promoting healthy living, youth development and social responsibility, and that requires us to address problems like chronic disease, educational disparities, and poverty that weaken our communities,” Metro YMCA Chief Development Officer Lisa Kelly said.

In addition to providing programs for children, adults and seniors to stay active and socialize, the Metro YMCA and its branches have developed evidence-based programs “to tackle obesity, support cancer survivors, prevent child sexual abuse, close the achievement gap, ensure quality, affordable child care, make fresh vegetables and fruit available in food deserts, and more,” Kelly said.

The Metro YMCA has been recognized for its stewardship of charitable donations. Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest charity evaluator, has awarded the Metro Y its top rating for six years in a row in recognition of the organization’s sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. Only 5 percent of charities rated by Charity Navigator have received four-star evaluations six consecutive years or more.

To contribute to the annual appeal, contact Kelly at lkelly@metroymcas.org or 973-758-9622, visit www.metroymcas.org/donate, or stop by the South Mountain  YMCA at 13 Jefferson Ave. in Maplewood.

ABOUT THE Y

Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 30,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.