December 21, 2011

Cycling club raises almost $5,000 from pot-luck fundraiser

Sharon Kreutzer (front right centre) and Donna Begg (front left centre) along with Raine Haziza (left front) and Sierra Haziza (obscured, right front) and their cycling group The Perennial Girls read about the Sun’s Adopt-a-School project and banded together to raise almost $5,000 for Admiral Seymour elementary school. The Perennial Girls are (top left to right) Margaret McEwan (blue coat), Sandra Haziza, Suzanne Wheeler (red jacket and blue helmet), Andrea Feheley (top center left), Andrea Hamilton, Cathy Sabisthon (purple coat and black helmet), Marie Genest, Shelley Philps, Sharon Ferris, Lisa Stout and Alex Sawchyn (red jacket).

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.”

SIX WAYS TO DONATE

1. MAIL: Complete the donation form and mail it to: The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Society, Suite 1 – 200 Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. V6C 3N3.

We accept Visa, MasterCard or a cheque or money order payable to The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Society.

2. PHONE: To pay by credit card, call 604-605-2426.

3. ONLINE: To donate online using Visa or MasterCard, go to www.vansunkidsfund.ca and click on the donate button.

4. TEXT YOUR DONATION: Text SUNKIDS to 20222 to donate $5. Your donation, which will appear on your cellphone bill, will go to the Children’s Fund Adopt-a-School project.

5. FACEBOOK: For every “Like” on the Children’s Fund Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ vansunkidsfund, Telus is donating $1 to Adopt-a-School. The fund matches every $1, so every “like” sends $2 to help B.C. kids in need.

6. NEW ITEMS: Our Adopt-a-School project not only collects money, it is a conduit so readers can donate goods such as coats, shoes and gloves directly to schools and students who need them most. For information on how to donate, email adopt-aschool@vancouversun.com.

gshaw@vancouversun.com

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