MONTROSE – Kids are going hungry in Montrose, but Kid’s Aid, a nonprofit started by Colleen Geery, began to address the problem this past school year by starting a program that sends backpacks full of food home with kids on weekends.
Geery said the program, which by the end of the school year was being implemented in five area elementary schools, has been well-received by area principals, but needs to expand because the need is so great.
To meet that need, a benefit golf tournament for Kid’s Aid will be held at the Bridges Golf and Country Club on July 23, and both golfers and corporate sponsors are needed.
Local businesses are being asked to sponsor a hole during the tournament for $250 or the driving range for $1,000. Geery said gift certificates to be used as prizes at the tournament are also needed.
Businesses that want to become tournament sponsors can send an email to Margaret Mocko at the Bridges at email@example.com or to Geery at firstname.lastname@example.org. Companies should include their logo or other information for signage, Geery said.
The tournament entry fee is $65 per player, which includes lunch, greens fees and a cart. The shotgun start will take place at 8:30 a.m. To register, golfers should contact the Bridges golf shop at 252-8899. The deadline is July 16.
Mocko, who is event coordinator for the Bridges and also serves the Kid’s Aid board, said the club is glad to help raise funds for the program.
“Golf tournaments can raise a lot of money if done right,” she said. “I think the best thing about Kid’s Aid is that they’re putting food right in a child’s hands.”
Kid’s Aid began providing backpacks of food to three area elementary schools in February, and the program expanded to five schools by the end of the school year, Geery said. She hopes to see the program expand to all Montrose area elementary schools and middle schools this fall.
Northside Elementary teacher Cara Godbe said she welcomed the Kid’s Aid program at her school, where 20 students took home backpacks of food each week.
“It was great because the kids looked forward to it,” she said. “We tried to keep it positive without calling attention to what it’s for. Come Friday afternoon, they were thrilled about picking them up and were real responsible about bringing the backpacks back on Monday.”
The only downside is that so many more children’s families could use extra food over the weekends, she said.
“It was really hard for us to pick 20 kids because we do have a lot of need,” she said.
Geery said feedback she’s gotten from principals and school counselors shows that 765 children are considered “critical” and their families need extra food on weekends. The cost of each backpack of food is about $6.15, she said, and all the food included is nutritious.
The goal of Kid’s Aid is to start the school year with enough funds to pay for 300 backpacks per week, and increase to 500 per week before the school year ends, Geery said. “We hope we can accommodate all the needs, but it’s all dependent on fundraising. We can’t continue this program without support from the community.”
Donations can be made by sending checks made out to Kid’s Aid to 2500 Bridges Drive, Montrose CO 81401.
“Literally every dollar makes a difference in this program,” Geery said. “Every dollar provides food to a child going without in our community.”