December 21, 2011
Cycling club raises almost $5,000 from pot-luck fundraiser
When Donna Begg and Sharon Kreutzer read teacher Carrie Gelson’s open appeal on behalf of the children in her inner-city school class-room, they mobilized their entire cycling team to help.
“After I read Carrie’s letter, I said, ‘We’ve got to do some-thing about this,’ ” said Begg. She and Kreutzer went to visit Gelson, and Kreutzer kept going, becoming a weekly volunteer at Admiral Seymour elementary.
“The letter hit home for both of us so strongly because it wasn’t written by a fundraiser on behalf of a charity; it was a teacher talking about her day,” said Kreutzer. “We just literally went down the next day with a box of stuff she needed.
“Then we walked away, saying ‘We can do more than this.’” So they turned to their cycling buddies. “We just told them, ‘You’re coming for dinner, it’s potluck so bring some food and bring your cheque-book. We’re going to tell you a story,’ ” said Kreutzer.
Begg and Kreutzer were hoping to raise $500 to buy a new stove for the school lunch-room, where children are fed every day. But by the time the story was told and before dinner was even served, the cyclists had pitched in with more than $4,670 for the small Vancouver school – a donation made through The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Adopt-a-School project that will be matched by the Children’s Fund.
The pair say the needs of the children at Seymour and other city schools don’t end with Christmas, and they have no intention of stopping now.
“We have said this is not a one-time deal,” said Begg. “We need to do this at the middle of the year and we need to do this again next year.
“By then the kids won’t have clothes again and they won’t have food because everyone will have forgotten.”
Begg and Kreutzer have also issued a challenge to other cycling clubs, including one that Begg’s husband rides in.
“The thing that struck us throughout all this is that all these women donate to many different things already and they give their time as well, but they are very generous people and if they are asked for one more thing, no problem – you can always give to one more thing.”
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