Pound For Pound Challenge donates to food bank

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon in Calgary’s Prince’s Island Park, Kevin Smith and five of his clients meet for a grueling workout. A benefit of the workout is not only a personal one, but also giving back to the community.

Smith, 44, owns Body Be Fit, a personal training and lifestyle business. Looking for a way to give back to the community and the less fortunate, Smith created the Pound for Pound Challenge.

“It just almost came like an ‘ah-ha’ moment. A pound lost is a pound gained for the Calgary Food Bank. It sounded right, and it felt right,” Smith said.

In 2010, Smith ran the challenge for the first time. For every pound or inch lost, Smith’s clients donated a pound of dry food goods to the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank.

An Interview with Kevin Smith

Smith himself then matches the donation, and corporate sponsors Shaw Communications and Campbell Company Canada also matched the donations.

At the end of the 2010 challenge, Body Be Fit donated 1,800 lbs. of non-perishable food.

Karen Shaule, 55, one of Smith’s clients, is participating in the challenge this year.

“It makes me more aware of when I donate the food, that I can do this for somebody [else],” she said.

Shaule makes quarterly donations to Calgary organizations to help those in need, but sees the Pound for Pound Challenge as a way to help families who cannot afford to feed their families throughout the year, and not just over the holidays.Personal trainer Kevin Smith coaches client Karen Shaule in Prince’s Island Park during a wednesday afternoon session. Shaule is part of Smith’s challenge to lose weight and donating non-perishable items to the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank.

Photo by: Samara Hawkins

Throughout the eight-week challenge, Shaule has lost seven pounds.

“I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose, but I have lost, and the big thing for me was balance,” she said. “To see how far I could go, what I could do, and it will get me all prepared for winter.”

The Calgary Interfaith Food Bank relies on donations of non-perishable items from the community all throughout the year. Kathryn Sim is the co-ordinator of communications and marketing at the food bank.

“There are so many different ways to give to the food bank, and some people just want to make their monthly donation. For them, that fits with how they like to give,” Sim said. “Other people [like Smith] like to do something that requires more time.”

Sim stressed the work that is involved when entrepreneurs like Smith decide to give to an organization. “Imagine owning your own business and adding your own program so you can support somebody else’s company.”

The 33 challenge members are not only donating food — they also have a chance to win six months of personal training, Lululemon gift certificates, and a “kayaking with the orca’s fitness adventure” on Canada’s west coast, valued at $2,000, Smith said. Body Be Fit supplies all prizes.

Giving back to the community in this manner has the participants excited for the challenge’s final weigh-in, on Oct. 22.

“It looks like this year the intensity level is higher. The energy within the group is very high. What I’m noticing this year in compared to last, is that there is more camaraderie,” Smith said. “It’s more of a team. I hear a lot more cheering going on for people that are struggling, so they get it. It’s not just about an individual effort; it’s about a team effort.”

Personal Trainer Kevin Smith leads a group of five clients for a Wednesday afternoon workout. These five women are losing weight and donating to the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank. They are members of Smith’s socially-conscious weight loss program, the Pound for Pound Challenge.

Photo by: Samara HawkinsThis year, Smith expects that the Pound for Pound Challenge will raise around 2,500-3,000 lbs. of non-perishable food items before being matched by any corporate sponsors.

“Everyone wins. Body Be Fit wins, the client wins, and most importantly, the Calgary Food Bank wins,” Smith said.

For more information about the challenge, or how to participate next year, please visit Pound for Pound Challenge.

shawkins@cjournal.ca