Zumba dancers raise money after rough winter at the Salvation Army

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - This cold, snowy winter has taken a toll on many of us including organizations that help the needy. On Wednesday night in Lexington, the Salvation Army got some help from the community.

Officials with the Salvation Army say they've had a 60 percent increase in the number of people seeking shelter so far this year. And that means more expensive bills for the shelter.

It's a Latin American way of exercising and an aerobics fitness program fit for anyone.

"It's just for fun! You don't have to be perfect or good at it," said Mona Mattingly, a participant. "You don't have to be a good dancer."

"We have young people and old people. We're all out here," said Cathy Zigmund, another participant.

You might have heard of it. It's called Zumba. That moved all kinds of people onto the dance floor at the Salvation Army.

"If you don't like to exercise, do Zumba because it's just fun!" said Zigmund.

"It's amazing to me how they all seem to know what to do, and they really are having a lot of fun," said Major Debra Ashcraft, with the Salvation Army in Lexington.

But the night wasn't just people breaking out some new dance moves. These participants also broke out a few dollars to be there.

"We've had a lot of cold weather. We have a lot of homeless people. And we have a big need," said Major Ashcraft.

The healthy and fun fundraiser helped shake the winter blues and bring in more money since more people are needing them.

"We have never had so many people in this shelter. We've had a lot of extreme weather," said Major Ashcraft. "In fact, January and February we have already housed 569 people. That's a 60 percent increase when we look at January and February of 2013."

In fact, they haven't had one night this winter that they weren't over capacity. And now they're crowded for a different reason.

"It's a picture of love and generosity really," said Major Ashcraft. "It's people having fun and really caring about the homeless, so I'm just thrilled."

Around 200 people took part in the charity event which raised more than $2,600 for the Salvation Army.

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