MANKATO — The end of 10-year-old Dylan Wollmuth’s mission was to climb half a thousand feet — a 60-foot elevation increase — up a snow-covered, boot-print-laden hill at Mount Kato, then to sit on an inflatable tube to slide down a slope and return to the starting point.
At Sunday’s summit and fall, however, Wollmuth had already outdone herself in the most impactful part of the Climb 2 Feed Kids event.
Forty participating teams of approximately 10 people attempted to raise at least $1,000. Wollmuth, a 4th grader at Bridges Community School in North Mankato, said she single-handedly raised $1,000 – and an extra penny for good measure.
“I emailed people, but I had no idea they were going to give away so much money,” she said, after she finished sliding down the hill in a bright orange snowsuit and violet. Her theory is that they all gave her money because they like her: “I’m a good girl, because I’m nice.”
The money, as Wollmuth noted in his message to donors, goes to the nonprofit Feeding Our Community Partners, which uses it to buy meals and snacks for K-12 students. food insecure in five local school districts.
“I had talked about it and she asked me, ‘Do you think I could be on Bridges’ team? Said Wollmuth’s mother, Lori Wollmuth, community relations officer for the association. “That’s the secret to it all: all those little amounts, they really add up to have a big impact.”
Sheri Sander-Silva, the nonprofit’s executive director, said Sunday’s fundraising goal of $100,000 is about half the money the OFCP spends each year to fight. against hunger. About three-quarters of that is raised by teams of community members, she said.
More than 800 students per week are served through the BackPack food program for elementary school students, the Power Pack program for middle school students, and a food pantry that operates outside of local high schools. During the 2020-21 school year, the organization served 226,400 meals to more than 1,000 children, according to its data.
“We’ve also added summer services, so we really have year-round hunger relief resources for K-12 students,” Sander-Silva said.
Most of the Sunday climbing and sliding groups were made up of teachers from local schools or employees of area businesses. The rest of the money is donated by corporate sponsors.
Supported by more than 1,000 volunteers each year, 100 of whom were at Sunday’s event, the nonprofit of less than 10 employees needs community support to give back. About 60% of the organization’s fundraising goal had been reached by Sunday evening; donations can still be made through the event website.
“We are, by far, locally funded,” Sander-Silva said. “We don’t get any significant state or federal grants, which is a big deal. That’s why events like this are so important to our operations.
Now in its 9th year, Climb 2 Feed Kids is traditionally held inside Minnesota State University’s Bresnan Arena. Each member of a team of 10 had to climb 768 steps in the relay, said marketing manager Lillie Herbst.
College administrators ended the event in the fall of 2020 due to the rapid rise of the coronavirus. Without its usual location, the association did not think it could safely organize a similar outing by the beginning of 2021. It was also sorely lacking in volunteers because many were sick.
A competitive, timed food-wrapping event replaced fundraising that year while providing needed volunteer labor, Herbst said. Crowded spaces were limited by accommodating one team at a time to pack food, an arrangement that turned a day’s outing into a two-month ordeal. At the same time, planning for the Mount Kato event had begun.
Organizers were praying for good snow and decent temperatures for Sunday’s event, especially as this month saw average temperatures 4.5 degrees lower than other Januarys in recent history. .
The weather was spot on Sunday: temperatures were in the 20s and snow from the previous weeks covered the slopes.
“We’ve been here since before sunrise,” Herbst said Sunday morning. “This is the first year that we have used this format and it is already going very well.”