29,029 feet. 4,800 summits. And an average cost to climb Mt. Everest? $45,000.
The cost to feed students in two districts for an entire school year? $18,000.
Michael Meinig is training to run / hike the elevation of Mount Everest in one day, on Banff’s Sulphur Mountain. His goal is to raise funds for meal programs in School Districts 5 and 6. The meal programs provide breakfast and lunch to students who may not have a consistent meal at home, as well as to teach students about cooking and eating nutritious meals.
“The idea behind these programs is to help children learn rather than worry about hunger,” says Mr. Meinig.
There are no hard numbers for how many students the meal program benefits, especially as the program is open to everyone to reduce the stigma for those who may need a meal.
“The schools’ meal programs are needed a lot more than people may realize,” he adds.
Mr. Meinig says the District allocates about $18,000 towards meals and snacks to all the public schools. Schools can apply for product and funding from the BC Fresh Fruit and Veggies Program, the BC Dairy Foundation, Breakfast Club of Canada, Breakfast for Learning, the Retired Teachers Associations and a few more.
Mr. Meinig works in Cranbrook for School District #5, but lives in Kimberley where his children go to school in School #6, hence the decision to raise funds for programs in both districts.
To commemorate turning 55 this year, Mr. Meinig wanted a new challenge. He had heard of people cycling the elevation of Mt. Everest in one day and began his own training regime. A better runner than biker, he switched to a hike / run fundraiser and has been training for the past two and a half years.
He runs and hikes Kimberley’s ski hill for training, but will be doing the race day on Sulphur Mountain as they have the longest open time and their gondola will be available during the day. His idea is to take the gondola down during Sulphur Mountain’s operating hours – “to save my knees” quips the aging athlete. Starting around 4 a.m. Saturday, June 15th, Mr. Meinig estimates the challenge will take him about 18 hours to complete, with about 13 or 14 climbs and hopefully five or six descents.
For more information or to donate, visit www.everestkootenay.com.