Calgary woman climbing to help feed hungry kids
CALGARY -- A Calgary woman with a passion for climbing and a desire to pay it forward thinks she may have found a way to do both in a single leap.
Karen Knowlton has a goal to summit Mount Athabasca July 23rd. In addition to her adventurous climb, she's raising money for a local charity called I Can For Kids.
"So I thought you know, I can bring my passion for the mountains and try and raise some money for a charity," said Knowlton. "I know right now they're really hard-hit, this is a really good year to do it."
Knowlton loves nature and along with her life and climbing partner Manuel Prieto, the two find themselves in the mountain parks most weekends exploring new trails or hiking to a summit they've made before. She's excited to try something harder.
"Mount Athabasca was a good introduction into mountaineering," said Knowlton. "The guides do it all the time so I wanted to be safe but I (also) wanted it to be a good challenge."
She's set a goal to raise $25,000 for her climb but is already at $30,000 with two months to go.
"The first day we got $5,000 in donations," said Knowlton. "That met the Children's Hospital Aid Society's matching (dollar for dollar) donation of $5,000 so that was fantastic."
To help her reach the 3,491 metre summit, she'll climb with a mountain guide from Canmore company Ridgeline Guiding.
"Karen's efforts to summit Mount Athabasca in July is not only courageous but it's helping us share the message of how important it is that we care for vulnerable kids in our city," said Bobbi Turko, co-founder and executive director of I Can For Kids.
Turko says money raised by Knowlton will provide at least 1,200 kids with $50 grocery gift cards.
"We provide support at a level that's meaningful to the family," said Turko. "In some situations there may only be one or two children in the household, in other situations there's more so we ensure that our support is customized to meet their unique needs."
Turko says through its network of over 25 social service and community agency partners, the charity is able to reach tens of thousands of hungry children youth across the city. In 2020 it reached children in over 135 communities across the city.
"COVID-19 has really had a big impact with kids being off school and unsupported," said Knowlton. "So that's where I Can For Kids has come into play."
Learn more about Karen's journey and how to donate here: icanforkids.ca