Nearly 100 attendees showed up for the BMO Walk So Kids Can Talk event, bringing communities together in support of Kids Help Phone.
As May is Mental Health Month, dozens of families gathered at the field house for the annual fundraising walk.
Families raised money over a few months ahead of the Sunday event, culminating in a two-mile walk and celebration.
“We have been a major sponsor for 11 years and have been involved with the organization for 30 years,” said Mike Hassett, SVP at BMO Financial Group. “We can’t think of a better cause than the Kids Help Phone, for the children who have mental health problems.”
Demand for Kids Help Phone services is growing faster than ever, with the service more than doubling since the start of the pandemic.
Kids Help Phone has reached out to children 14.7 million times, nearly 10 thousand per day since 2020.
In the past year in Saskatchewan, 74 percent of issues discussed with Kids Help Phone related to mental or emotional health.
“I think we can all identify with the experience of growing up and how hard it can be,” said Emma MacNaught, branch manager at BMO Financial Group. “So having someone to talk to is such an important resource for kids. I’m super proud that we were able to donate this money and make a difference, and I think I can speak for everyone who took part, it’s just such an amazing cause.
As in-person events are just starting to return to normal after the pandemic, attendees say it’s been nice to be back together and celebrate Kids Help Phone.
“The fundraising never stopped, but it sure was fun to get together and take a group walk to celebrate what we did,” Hassett said. “We couldn’t do that in recent years, but we did it last year and this year and we’re really happy to be back.”
The total amount of the fundraiser is still being calculated, but the Walk So Kids Can Talk event in 2023 has raised more than $18,000 for Kids Help Phone.
“The event is obviously for Kids Help Phone, but I think on a personal level it’s just so much fun to get together and do something as a team for a good cause, and being able to connect more is super important, and such a great experience doing this,” Hassett said.
The event in Saskatoon ran alongside similar events in 16 other locations across Canada, raising funds to ensure continued access to mental health care for children in need.