The Kitchener Sports Association responded to the COVID-19 pandemic armed with donations and support for KW’s essential workers and the most vulnerable.
On May 6, 2020 the Kitchener Sports Association (KSA) launched a COVID-19 health initiative to assist the community in response to the pandemic. That included donating $100,000 to support essential workers and organizations that help the vulnerable population, as well as supporting the long term care homes in Kitchener-Waterloo.
In addition to the donations, KSA collaborated with several other local organizations such as the Kitchener Rotary Club of Westmount, Kitchener Knights of Columbus, and the Canadian Albanian Association, to organize events in support of frontline workers like the KW Cares Caravan and the provision of free lunches to 150 staff members at the AR Goudie Long Term Care home.
John Thompson, President of the KSA, emphasized the importance of supporting our community and essential workers during these difficult times.
“Our motto back from 1944… True sportspeople make good citizens and so we’re trying to lead by example that it’s appropriate to help when help is needed. Our members work hard and they enjoy raising funds and there’s that nice satisfaction that by raising funds we are able to make a positive difference in our community,” John said.
Thompson said that the KSA had the financial resources to help aid the community during these challenging times, making the decision to step up and help those in need an easy one.
“Instead of putting it into the minor sports…we thought it was appropriate to put it [into] the other organizations. We had funds available and it should be put to work,” John said.
In a meeting that lasted about four hours, the KSA board of directors decided – along with the input of 62 out of its 65 members – to invest in services that help meet the basic needs of citizens such as food and accommodations. The KSA then embarked on dividing their $100,000.
The Food Bank of Waterloo Region and House of Friendship & Nutrition for Learning were sent three cheques of $10,000. Furthermore, six cheques of $5,000 were donated to Anselma House, also known as Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region, OneROOF Youth Services, Wilmot Family Resource Centre, Woolwich Community Services, YMCA of Kitchener-Waterloo and YW Kitchener-Waterloo. John continues to encourage others to rise to the occasion and help support essential workers and those in need in the community.
“Our community is very caring and generous so when our community’s back was against the wall with all these needs, I think the community rallies around it,” John said.
The KSA was formed in 1944 with the objective of building a new arena in Kitchener – the result was the building and opening of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium in 1950. Subsequently, KSA evolved through various stages from a social sports club to a minor funder of sports, and more recently it has become a significant component of the community’s sports fabric. Most of their funds come from their annual 50/50 draws from the Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club and KW Titans Basketball games, as well as bingos.
In addition to funding sports teams, KSA actively acknowledges their volunteers by holding Volunteer RecognitionCeremonies, as well as providing scholarships for post-secondary students.