NETTIE REMPEL PHOTO
Cindy (from left), Kaly and Stacy Rempel went to Winkler Bible Camp this summer.
How to help the Sunshine Fund
To donate, send cheques to the
Winnipeg Free Press Sunshine Fund
c/o Unit F-1215 Henderson Hwy.,
Winnipeg, MB, R2G 1L8.
You can donate in person with a cheque during office hours or in a locked mailbox outside the door. You can also call in with a credit card number to 204.784.1130.
Or you can donate by clicking here
Growing up in Paraguay, Nettie Rempel was never able to go to summer camp. Even now that she’s a Canadian citizen and mother of four, her children would not have the chance to experience camp either, if not for the Winnipeg Free Press Sunshine Fund.
"I really appreciate the help because I’m a single mom," said Rempel, whose four children have attended camp through the Sunshine Fund. "I really appreciate the Sunshine Fund, that they help me fund for the camps and (the kids) really enjoyed it."
The Sunshine Fund, which subsidizes camp expenses for children of low-income families, relies solely on donations and grants. Applications are available on the Manitoba Camping Association website, which processes requests on a first-come, first-served basis.
A family could be eligible for up to $700 per child per year in assistance, depending on where the family ranks on Statistics Canada’s low-income chart. A qualifying family would be able to send their child to one of 35 camps in Manitoba.
During its 40 years, the Sunshine Fund has sent more than 26,000 children to camp. So far this year, funding has supported 622 children; its goal is to send 650 to camp this summer.
This year, Rempel sent her three girls, Kaly, Cindy and Stacy, to Winkler Bible Camp. It was their second time going to camp; last summer they attended Roseau River Bible Camp.
Rempel said her oldest daughter, 14-year-old Kaly, who is artistic and "more quiet," was reluctant to go because she didn’t think her friends would be there.
"She’s been going through a lot of depression and didn’t want to make new friends," Rempel added.
"But once she found out her friends were there, she was all fine... (My daughters) had lots of fun. They couldn’t stop talking about it."
Unlike their older sister, 13-year-old Cindy and 10-year-old Stacy are more outgoing and enjoy interacting with others, so the two were much more excited about going to camp, their mom said.
"They kept asking; they were kind of having anxiety," Rempel said with a chuckle.
She added all three enjoyed going swimming and rafting, but their favourite activity, by far, was horseback riding.
Rempel said the family lives in St. Vital, but they have relatives who live on farms outside the city. She said the girls love farms and attributes that to their enjoyment of riding horses.
Rempel wants her children to have fun and gain experience, but ultimately she also sees camp as a way for her daughters to learn more about faith and friendship, an opportunity to spend time with others while learning how to become better people.
"For me, to send my kids, I want them to be closer to God and to learn more about God’s work," she said. "For me, (the Sunshine Fund) is the best thing."
We Need Your Help
The Manitoba Camping Association has been sending kids to camp through the Winnipeg Free Press Sunshine Fund for 40 years.
To mark the anniversary, the MCA is planning something for the fall and we need your help.
Do you know someone who benefited from the Sunshine Fund when they were younger and are now in a place in their life where they want to give back?
Contact Rick Scherger at the
MCA office at 204.293.7339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would love to hear from you.