Community steps up for Jumpstart

Penticton's Canadian Tire Jumpstart having a good start with fundraising initiative in May

Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program has garnered more attention with the May 1 launch of the Red Ball campaign.

The fundraising campaign encourages Canadians to donate throughout the month to get kids in the game. One in three Canadian families cannot afford to enrol their kids in organized sports or physical activities. During the month, Canadians have been able to make a $2 donation in exchange for a Jumpstart red ball at Canadian Tire, Mark’s, Sport Chek, Atmosphere and Canadian Tire Gas locations.

For the first time, National Sports and Sports Experts locations have participated by accepting donations in-store in return for a red ball. Jumpstart is encouraging all Canadians to post a photo of themselves with their red ball using the hashtag #JumpstartRedBall, to show their support.

Dawn Nielsen, customer service manager at Penticton’s Canadian Tire, said things have been going well leading up to the Jumpstart Day on May 31, which participating Canadian Tire stores across Canada have special events and activities planned for community members to celebrate the campaign and raise additional funds.

Nielsen said the Napolean barbecue rep is coming and they are barbecuing bratwursts and European wieners for donation. The Napolean rep is also giving away prizes, including raffling off a barbecue.  As part of the campaign, cashiers are asking customers if they would like to donate $2 to get their name in for the raffle.

“So far we’ve made almost $2,500 just in the barbecue alone,” said Nielsen, adding she would like to make more on Jump Start Day. “My goal was a $1,000. If we could make another $2,500 that would be amazing.”

“All of the proceeds stay here. I’m really impressed with the girls here. The cashiers have been doing amazing,” said Nielsen, who is organizing the event for the first time and added two years ago they raised $300. “I’m so ecstatic how great this is doing. Just think of all the kids we can put into hockey or swimming.”

What excites Nielsen about Jumpstart Day are the by donation games such duck pond and ball toss for kids and the prizes they will be giving away.

Jumpstart’s goal is to raise $1.7 million through the nationwide campaign, which will give 17,000 kids the chance to experience the power of play.

“Sport and physical activity has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember and I can’t imagine it any other way,” said Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time Olympic gold medalist for Canada in a press release. “The benefits of participating in organized sports are endless, from increased self-esteem and confidence, to adopting good habits and leading a healthy life.”