After assisting 1,735 children across Manitoba in 2008 and giving $333,000 to assist in sports registrations and costs, provincial chair Jeff Palamar said KidSport is facing a sad reality of potentially being unable to assist anyone next year if help doesn't come.
"We've had an enormous increase in demand, which is great in some ways because people know we exist now but the downside of it is the money we've got is gone so it's tough right now," said Palamar, a Winnipeg lawyer who is the volunteer chair.
"A lot of things contributed to this. We had several one-time donations that were very generous and used fairly quickly, we've had great exposure in terms of advertising, marketing, advertising and the media so people know to come and ask for assistance as need be... We increased the (maximum) amount of money payable to each child from $200 to $300 because fees are going up and we've just had more applicants."
Angie McCaughan, chair of the Winnipeg Region KidSport Committee, said her region funded 615 children for $149,000. That is a significant jump from the 2004 numbers of 172 children funded with $27,000.
"I'm hearing about all the tremendous work with Christmas hampers at this time of year and I can't help but think these are the same families that we want to help and they're still here after Christmas," said McCaughan, also a volunteer.
"A challenge for us has always been that some people think KidSport is funded by the government. We are not. We are a non-profit organization. The money that we get is raised by our volunteer committee and any donations that we receive. We need a little bit of help!"
While KidSport also collects gently-used sports equipment, Palamar said is monetary assistance that KidSport is hoping for because one of their primary roles is to assist families with registration fees for children's chosen sports. In hockey, for example, that amount can be over $300 for youngsters just to sign up.
Anyone wishing to assist Kidsport can do so on-line, by mail or in person.
Donations can be made the KidSport office at 200 Main St., by mail c/o KidSport, 200 Main St., Winnipeg, MB, R3C 4M2 or on-line at www.sportmanitoba.ca by clicking on the KidSport logo.
A helping hand
KidSport has assisted over 14,000 Manitoba children and raised over $1,900,000 since it began in 1993.
assistance is based on financial need
call 1-866-774-2220 toll-free anywhere from in Manitoba or see www.sportmanitoba.ca and click on the KidSport logo for an application
assistance is for any sport recognized by Provincial Sport Organizations. In Winnipeg, KidSport assists children playing any sports which are not community-centre based. Assistance for sports based in community centres goes through the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres (www.gcwcc.mb.ca)
maximum of $300 per child (18-and-under) in a calendar year toward registration fees, $500 for high performance athletes