Last winter, Parkdale resident Kimberly Davidson was set to start soliciting for a big bike fundraiser for cancer when she had a big idea of her own.
“All of these other fundraisers are focused on when the problem arrives,” Davidson said. “It is a lot harder to fix a problem that exists than to prevent it from ever happening.”
A holistic nutritionist by trade, Davidson decided to focus her energy and fundraising on helping children get healthy meals and she started a bike event called Biking For Bellies. This 200-kilometre bike ride on Aug. 4 raises money to support meal programs for students. In particular, funds raised this year will go to the meal program at Thorncliffe Park Public School in East York.
“We live in an amazing place where Medicare is free, but food is not,” Davidson said. “Our basic necessity is getting more and more expensive every day.”
The quality of food is going down and people are less connected with the food they eat, Davidson said.
“If we continue to make healthy food inaccessible for a large population of our youth, these problems are just going to keep happening,” she said.
Davidson’s mother died of breast cancer at the age of 52 and her father also died at the same age due to ill health.
“I think we look at it backwards when it comes to our health,” Davidson said. “We take it for granted until we get scared...and then have to jump and do something about it.”
In February, she started planning the Biking for Bellies fundraiser in hopes to improve access to food for students.
“Food security has always been my biggest focus,” she said. “I do cooking classes for kids and have always been more focused on kids because I think they are the most vulnerable.”
Davidson recruited bikers for the Biking for Bellies ride – so far five participants have signed up and each of them are hosting fundraising events to reach a $1,300. Details and links to the various fundraising events can be found on the Biking for Bellies website at www.bikingforbellies.com
The Biking for Bellies ride is 200 kilometres from Thorncliffe Park Public School – 100 kilometres north to Lake Simcoe and then 100 kilometres east to Bobcaygeon – and takes place Aug. 4 and 5.
“I think people are looking for adventure and big events in the summer, something to push themselves and I think this is a good way to do it.”
Biking for Bellies is a fundraiser under Toronto Foundation of Student Success, which has an agreement that all money raised will go directly to the meal program at the Thorncliffe Park Public School.
Davidson had an opportunity to visit Thorncliffe and witness the meal program and said she was amazed at what it does.
“The number of kids that are in that school and the number of kids that are dependant on this meal program and the struggle for funding every day,” she said of the meal program.
Davidson said she hopes to formally register Biking for Bellies as a charitable organization and continue to raise funds for different schools in the Greater Toronto Area.