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Calgary Kidsport sees demand spike due to inflationary pressures


A Calgary charity that helps local kids get off the sidelines and into sports says it is seeing a massive spike in demand this year.

Kidsport says it has recorded close to 45 per cent growth in demand for its services this year compared to last, largely driven by inflation pressures.

"Many families are in difficult positions in terms of household finances, and sport becomes more of a luxury item than something (like) food and a roof over your head," said Kidsport executive director Kevin Webster.

Webster says more families than ever seem to be in a low-income situations.

"But their kids shouldn't be missing out on sport in the meantime," he added.

So far this year, Kidsport has distributed more than $1.6 million in registration fees to more than 500 different local sport clubs, which has enabled 5,000 kids to play sports they might otherwise have missed out on. 

"Then, on the equipment side, we've distributed over 1,000 pieces of equipment now to help another couple 1,000 kids with no-cost equipment."

As single mother of three boys, aged  4, 6, and 10, Victoria Kreutz says she is feeling the pinch of inflation.

"Daycare costs, increased rent, I think even hockey fees have gone up a little bit this year. Everything right? Groceries, gas, I mean everything."

Still, the Cochrane mother is determined to see her three boys continue playing hockey. This year she turned to Kidsport for help.

"I don't actually know if I could put all of them in hockey without it. Then, on top of the financial aid, they gave us all gear. Gear can be quite expensive."

While hockey might be the sport most assume is where  the lion’s share of Kidsport funding goes, the organization says soccer surpasses it by a wide margin.

"We have some great partners from Calgary Minor Soccer and the Umoja (Community Mosaic) that are focused on helping us educate the community and get more kids the access to the sport that they need," Webster said.

"It's our top sport on the equipment side and the funding side, exponentially higher than any other sport we fund.

"First soccer, basketball is number two right now, and then hockey, gymnastics, dance."

Kidsport is fielding between 60 to 80 applications a day right now.

Webster says the charity is on track to fund sporting activities for close to 6,500 children this year and provide equipment to 3,500.

In total, 5,000 kids funded at the end of this week. And we'll we're on track to be well close to 6500 kids on the funding side.

The Calgary and area Kidsport chapter has been operating for close to 30.

Webster says he hopes Calgarians who can afford it will step up and donate to Kidsport. Top Stories

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