Jack family starts fund to help needy children

It costs a lot of money to put a child into a hockey, ringette or an arts program.

While many parents are fortunate enough to be able to do that, there are others whose children simply do not have the chance to take part because of finances.

The Jack family in Fergus is  hoping to change that and has already gone a long way to provide help for kids with the Elma and David Jack youth recreation fund.

It was established by their children in their memory and is designed to give financially challenged youth in the community access to recreation, Sports and arts programs through contributions to registration costs.

Doug Jack and the Centre Wellington Community Foundation announced the fund at the Fergus Sportsplex on Dec. 16.

With that announcement was revealed a wall space dedicated to providing information about the fund and its sponsors, with the focus being a Sidney Crosby Team Canada hockey sweater from the Olympic triumph over the United States, as well as photos of Crosby’s winning goal and the sweater signed by the entire team.

Jack joked that for many older Canadians the most famous goal in hockey belongs to Paul Henderson, but he said the Crosby goal brings the younger generation into the picture, too.

The goal of the fund is to raise $100,000 over the next five years, and Jack said to much applause, “Without even a formal announcement, we’re at $42,500.”

Those donors include Jack and his wife Debbie and family: his sister Heather and Brad Halls of Cobourg (“They’ve come to their senses and are moving back to Fergus next year,” Jack quipped), his sister Kathy and her late husband Keith Fitzpatrick.

There are gold, silver and bronze sponsorships available, and there are a number of gold sponsors already registered. Those include the Ostic family, Bob Cameron and his family  and the Ken Lennox family of ETS Technical Services, formerly of Elora and now located in Guelph.

Jack said he hopes to obtain seven more gold sponsors, and he will happily accept any number of silver or bronze sponsors.

The Jack fund is set up through the Centre Wellington Community Foundation, which oversees several funds that are used for community goods. Jack said he was a charter member of that organization and still acts as its solicitor.

He said the idea for the fund came from Centre Wellington parks and recreation manager Andy Goldie, who told him there is a strong need to help children in financial straits to enable them to take part in recreation opportunities that other children take for granted.

Jack added people need not worry about becoming a metal sponsor. “We’ll take every donation.”

The Community Resource Centre (CRC) will be the group overseeing the fund. Executive director Ron MacKinnon told the gathering he likes to see “a community where every child has a chance to succeed,” and added if a child does not have a chance, “You don’t know what was lost.”

He said the CRC already receives requests for aid for 280 children just in Centre Wellington this year for a variety of services, and there are another 230 families that come the CRC for help. He added  every year there are 200 to 300 families that have difficulty paying for such things as their hydro bill.

“There are families struggling and in need,” he said.

MacKinnon added “I’d be afraid to guess” how many children would not play such things as hockey or soccer because their parents cannot afford it. And, he noted, while some families might be able to afford some of the cost, such as registration, there is a high cost for equipment and travel for Sports like hockey that might put it out of their financial reach.

MacKinnon added he particularly likes the Jack fund because it can look after people all year round. He said such things as Sports are valuable for young people because they teach lifelong skills such as socialization and conflict resolution.

The CRC’s main office is located at 160 St. David Street South, in Fergus. It can be reached at 519-843-7000.