Demand grows for KidSport program in Lethbridge

Demand is growing for KidSport program in Lethbridge
WATCH ABOVE: Kidsport has seen a big jump in the number of applicants in what continues to be a struggling economy, and the organization is now struggling to fulfill its mandate. Global’s Kimberly Tams has more.

A Lethbridge man says the local KidSport organization is the reason he can afford to let his kids play soccer.

“They love soccer; soccer is a part of our life,” Emil Montoya said.

Montoya moved to Canada from Honduras in 2007. He has three kids who all play soccer and is already making big plans for his one-month-old baby, Diego.

He said the program has covered all of their registration fees for the last four years.

“KidSport gives your kids a chance to go to a sport and keep them out of trouble,” Montoya added.

The organization subsidizes hundreds of kids’ sports fees each year, but the group has seen a startling increase in applicants in the last two years because of the economic downturn.

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READ MORE: KidSport helping Saskatoon kids play sports

“There are families that have been laid off who have always been givers and now they have to receive,” Genny Hunter-Barr said.

In 2015, 211 kids were helped with fees totaling $31,000. This year, $40,000 has been put towards funding 239 kids.

“We are up by 12 per cent from last year to this time,” Hunter-Barr said. “We are up dollars that we have distributed and we have not included hockey or soccer. We just got those applications. Lethbridge was not hit huge, but it’s now filtering.”

READ MORE: KidSport Edmonton sees ‘unprecedented’ demand during economic downturn