The Gratiot County Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council launched the first ever Clash for Kids fundraiser to fight childhood hunger. The event capitalized on the excitement over the season opener between two powerhouse football dynasties—Pewamo Westphalia and Ithaca. While the final score was a disappointment to local fans, the fundraiser was a huge success raising more than $10,000 for the cause.
The idea for Clash for Kids came from Dr. Michael Stack and his son, Ithaca High School Junior Camran Stack. Realizing that underprivileged kids relied on the two meals they receive at school each day, they became concerned over food availability for those kids over the weekend and how that might adversely impact their success in school on Monday mornings and in the long term. With the support of the two football programs, the Youth Advisory Council, of which Camran is a member, agreed to coordinate the fundraiser.
Led by Camran Stack, youth met once each week throughout the summer to plan all aspects of the event; from budgeting and publicity plans to recruiting sponsors and volunteers. “I was really impressed with the kids who volunteered for the project. Summer is a break for most kids, but they showed a lot of commitment and that translated into a really successful fundraiser. It was rewarding to watch them bring all the pieces together,” explained Tina Travis, Foundation Executive Director.
Funds were raised with donations from sponsors and a mini-kids carnival at the game, as well as prize raffle and 50/50 tickets sold at the game. The support of “Varsity” level sponsors Family Medical Care-Ithaca, MidMichigan Medical Center-Gratiot, Garr Tool, Steve and Kristin Bakker and Marita Hattem-Shiffman and Randy Shiffman was key to beating the $10,000 goal. Many other businesses made donations of cash and prizes for the event.
Businesses and organizations provided fun and games for kids at the mini-carnival. De Saegher Dairy provided a bounce house in the shape of a cow and a “fake” cow that kids could milk adding a very unique aspect to the event. The Optimist Club, Kiwanis Club, YAC, Child Advocacy and JCPenney provided temporary tattoos, games and more to round out the mini-carnival.
Camran Stack added, “The Clash for Kids fundraiser was a good step toward uplifting Gratiot County. We hope to continue the event in order to further benefit local youth.” The monies raised will support weekend food programs in Gratiot County schools. Programs like Project FULL (serving Ithaca and Fulton), Weekend Care (serving Breckenridge), Project PAWS (serving Alma), Food Bag Program (St. Louis), as well a program in Ashley, will receive grants to buy food for underprivileged kids. The food will be sent home with them over the weekend when school breakfasts and lunches are not available.
We are excited to announce we will be doing this again during the summer of 2019. We have begun planning this years Clash for Kids that is going to be held on August 29, 2019 at the Ithaca football field. JV will kick off at 4pm. We hope to see you there!