KidSport cooking event serves up $16,000 for Island kids in sport

A new fundraising event has cooked up some much-needed cash for an Island organization that supports kids who can't otherwise afford to take part in organized sports.

The first ever Cooking For KidSport fundraising event took place at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown on Thursday night, and raised $16,000 for KidSport P.E.I.

KidSport helps cover registration fees and equipment for Island children who want to play sports. In the past 20 years, the group has gone from distributing $3,000 a year to more than $150,000 a year, which supports more than 650 children.

'Heartbreaking'

But in December, KidSport organizers announced they were running short of funds, and might not be able to help every eligible family that applied for support in 2017. 

Sport PEI sport coordinator Jared Murphy called the situation "heartbreaking".

At the time, the group was forecasting as many as 150 children could be not supported in 2017 due to the lack of funds.

New fundraisers

Since then, a number of fundraisers have helped top up the KidSport P.E.I. coffers.

The Island Storm has partnered with Shaw Direct Satellite TV to help raise funds for KidSport P.E.I. Shaw Direct is donating $10 to KidSport P.E.I. every time the Storm makes a 3-point shot for the rest of the 2017 season.

The Cooking for KidSport fundraiser was also a big hit for organizers, with more than 200 people attending the first time event.

Five P.E.I. sports organizations faced off in a number of culinary challenges, including cucumber cutting, recreating the team logo in icing and a smoothie challenge. The celebrity teams also had to re-create one of the courses of a five-course meal served by Culinary Institute students and staff.

The event included members of the UPEI Panthers, Holland College Hurricanes, Charlottetown Islanders, Island Storm and Summerside Western Capitals.

Support for 50 kids

The crowd also got to hear a KidSport graduate shared her story.  KidSport recipient Jessica Shepard told how KidSport made it possible for her to compete in wrestling from age 11 to 18.

Organizers estimate that the money raised at the cook off will support about 50 applicants to KidSport in 2017.

Sport PEI executive director Gemma Koughan said her group still has to hold a debrief on the event, but there is the possibility that it could become an annual fundraiser. 

KidSport on P.E.I. in 2016, by the numbers

- Amount given out to support kids in sport: $158,500.

- Number of kids supported: 655.

- Males 52 per cent, females 48 per cent.

- Number of sports: 27.

- Top sports: hockey, gymnastics, swimming and figure skating.

- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | P.E.I. government welcomes seafood federal funding, partnership

- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Everybody into the pool! 8-ball league looking for novice players