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West Jordan Journal

West Jordan neighborhood fundraiser donates to the food bank

Jun 11, 2020 01:25PM ● By Alison Brimley

Ten-year-old Dee Ann Barrowes lapped her neighborhood 60 times in a week, raising money for the food bank through a fundraiser organized by her neighbor Rebecca Klundt.

By Alison Brimley | [email protected]

It’s no surprise that along with medical scares and supply shortages, COVID-19 has brought a host of social and economic problems.

Rebecca Klundt of West Jordan isn’t an epidemiologist or policymaker—she’s an artist. But in April, Klundt saw an opportunity to help tackle two COVID-created problems at once. Klundt ran a socially distanced fundraiser right from her own driveway, aimed to help families entertain their stuck-at-home students while at the same time raising money for those struggling to put food on the table.

The concept was explained in sidewalk chalk in front of Klundt’s house: For every lap around the neighborhood a neighbor completed (whether walked, run or biked), he or she could make a tally mark in the Klundt driveway. At the end of the week, for every tally mark in the driveway, Klundt would donate one dollar to the Utah Food Bank.

By the time the fundraiser had ended on April 23, the neighborhood (near 1300 West and 9000 South in West Jordan) had raised nearly $400.

Klundt didn’t mean for the activity to be primarily a competition, but she did offer a prize to the neighbor who added the most tallies to the roster: a pink bag of chocolate coins. The winner was 10-year-old Dee Ann Barrowes, who completed 60 laps.

A lap around the neighborhood is about half a mile, meaning that Dee Ann, a fourth grader at Riverside Elementary, biked 30 miles in just a few days. It wasn’t easy. Dee Ann said “going down hills” was the biggest challenge, but it got easier as the week went on.

“We were all laughing because she was so motivated,” said Dee Ann’s mom, Norda Barrowes.

Another family of boys competed for the most tally marks. An older couple in the neighborhood came close. But no one topped De Ann’s numbers.

Norda and Dee Ann both loved Klundt’s idea. Now that she’s not in school, Dee Ann looks for opportunities to use her time constructively. In addition to biking the neighborhood to raise money for the food bank, she spends time practicing skills like art and ballet.

“I don’t want to use screens; it rots my brain,” Dee Ann said.

She loves her teacher at Riverside Elementary and misses her class. She was disappointed that school was canceled just as her class was about to begin an exciting project. She clearly embraces challenges, like the one Klundt’s fundraiser offered.

And when she’s not sponsoring neighborhood activities, Klundt is an artist who works from home. She’s a parent, too, though her children are grown, and she now has grandchildren. Before the fundraiser, she had regularly organized other activities to entertain neighborhood kids. Normally, she said, kids are so busy, and she wouldn’t want to add one more thing to their plates (or their parents’). But now, she said, the timing is right for these kinds of activities.

“Parents are so happy to have something for their kids to do,” she said.

And along with the many challenges that accompany a pandemic, Klundt sees new opportunities.

“The time we’re in calls for creativity,” she said. “If you’re a creative person, you’re loving this.”

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