Helping Kids Get Moving Again

KidSport Fort Saskatchewan is helping dozens of kids and youth stay active during the pandemic

In times of financial hardship, families struggle to afford the necessities of life, let alone extracurricular activities for their kids.

For decades, KidSport Fort Saskatchewan has helped low-income families in Fort Saskatchewan and surrounding areas keep their kids enrolled in sports and other activities. But when COVID-19 hit earlier this year, the organization feared it would have to sit the season out.

“The majority of our fundraising opportunities got put on hold or cancelled because of the pandemic,” said the organization’s chairperson, Janice Lupul. She explains that a large portion of the charity’s funds are raised from events, including an annual pub night, BBQs at grocery stores, and local sporting events. “Of course, none of this can be done this year because of social distancing,” she said.

To make matters worse, the charity missed out on grants it typically receives from local companies hit hard by the pandemic. Lupul estimates the lost fundraising to be in the ballpark of $20,000.

Lupul breathed a sigh of relief when Edmonton Community Foundation awarded KidSport Fort Saskatchewan a grant of $30,000, through the Government of Canada Emergency Community Support Fund.

“This has relieved a lot of the pressure on our organization,” she said. “We’re confident we’ll be able to meet the demands of our community for the rest of this year into early 2021.”

Thanks to the grant, the charity can now fund 75 children up to $400 each toward the enrollment and equipment costs of organized sports, martial arts, or dance. This will ease the financial burden of local families, but also help local sporting organizations get back on their feet.

“KidSport Fort Saskatchewan plays an important role for kids from low income families participate in sports,” Craig Stumpf-Allen, ECF’s Director of Grants and Community Engagement said. “Right now, with so many families struggling, their role is all the more important to make sure that kids can remain engaged with sports.”

Most importantly, the ECSF grant will help children in the Fort Saskatchewan area stay healthy and happy, which is more important than ever.

“Kids have really been affected, both physically and mentally, by the pandemic,” Lupul said. “Sport is a way to help them recover, both physically and mentally.”

Learn more about ECF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.