Latest Kurz fundraiser allocates proceeds towards school nutrition programs
Westfield, Eastdale, LDSS to receive ongoing funds beginning in the 2022-23 school year
LISTOWEL – “It’s always available to any kid, no matter what. It’s not an economic thing, it’s not a parent thing – it’s a person issue. Everyone has moments where they’re hungrier or rushing; we take away the stigma and make sure it’s universal.”
North Perth Westfield Elementary School Principal Anne Copeland summed up area school nutrition programs to a tee on June 21. And while nutritious, readily-available breakfast, snack and lunch foods are free to all students, to initially get them where they need to go requires the selfless generosity of the community at large, primarily through donations.
Dynafit University owner and local fundraising legend Chris Kurz recognized this ongoing need and put a plan into action well over a year ago. In May 2021, his latest feat of strength saw him flip a 400-pound tractor tire end-over-end 350 times back and forth across his gym’s parking lot. The end result was over $61,000 raised in support of nutrition programs at Listowel District Secondary School, Eastdale Public School, and Westfield.
Those proceeds are channelled through the Chris Kurz Fund, established in 2020, and handled in trust through the Stratford Perth Community Foundation (SPCF). The annual interest generated through the SPCF’s investment process extends the proverbial shelf life of the Kurz Fund indefinitely, allowing the allocation of monies to school nutrition programs to continue for countless years to come.
“We are honoured to support Chris’s vision to build a community legacy to help fund student nutrition and healthy snack programs in Listowel schools,” said Heidi Culliton, executive director of the SPCF. “Chris is a dedicated community builder so choosing to invest 100 per cent of the
funds he raised last year with a community foundation like ours is a local gift that will provide annual grants every year… forever. The three local schools never need to apply, they are designated beneficiaries of the Chris Kurz Fund for now and for always.”
The first donations of $800 to each of the three schools will commence at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year in September. “It’s way more efficient and it’s forever,” commented Kurz, who has performed seven fundraising feats of strength for various causes to date. He said that
No. 8 is the works for May 2023, with details forthcoming. “That’s one of the neatest things about it. We don’t have to perform extravagant events forever – it’s going to be able to give forever, and I couldn’t be more excited about that.”
Kurz’s donation will serve to fund a couple months of nutritious food items per school, per year. Other local contributors include Tim Hortons, Zehrs Markets, and the Victorian Order of Nurses, as well as many private donations from families.
Whole foods such as eggs, bagels, cheese, yogurt and fruit are available for any student on a daily basis. Copeland further explained that there are a number of reasons that students need to regularly utilize the nutrition program; they maybe got up late, or perhaps don’t eat first thing in the morning. It could also be as simple as it was a busy week for parents and the groceries didn’t get picked up during the usual shopping day.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” said Copeland of the effort involved in providing daily food items to a school with a student body of over 600. “We all know groceries are going up, so it really makes families struggle. When we can provide that and take some of the stress off a family or a kid, it means we’ve got better learners and kids that do better through the day.”
Speaking to Kurz’s individual effort, Copeland deemed it “incredible.”
“I’m hoping that our students see his actions as an individual and the impact it can have – that ripple-out effect for everybody – and that he has planted a seed that I hope changes how the community serves and sees each other, and meets the needs of our neediest individuals to make it a stronger community overall,” she said.
“We look out for each other,” added Kurz of the North Perth community as a whole. “If there’s some less-fortunate kids that need a snack, or if there’s a well-off kid that forgot a snack, they all can feel comforted that they can help themselves and get what they need to flourish.”
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