First off, I want to say thank you for reading my blog! I also want to say thank you for sharing my articles with your family and friends. In our digital age we are constantly bombarded with content, and so when I write a blog post, my hope is to always share something useful for you to take away. I created this blog because I love to write; but mostly because I wanted to share meaningful content with you. I am always intentional about my posts, and never want to make this blog “all about me”. I will always strive to write about things that I feel are of value to my reader and possibly teach them something new.
With that being said, I want to share with you a mission very dear to my heart, that has been the motivation behind what we do.
My husband (Kendrick) and I own a small fitness studio in Redwood City, California. In January of 2015, we took a risk and bought 4 Water Rowers…a seemingly unknown piece of equipment at the time. We had owned a Concept 2 Rower…and Kendrick really liked how the water rower was smoother, engaged more of the core, was more aesthetically appealing and was a full body, low-impact cardio for our clients.
Up until this point, our studio consisted of mostly personal training and partner training. We offered one class, a 30-minute circuit style blending cardio and strength training. When we got our rowers, we were excited to create a new class (which we named the K-Fit Experience); a blend of water rowing, strength training, and core training.
At first, clients were apprehensive to the rowers. We are creatures of habit; and not many people like change. (Anytime you add something new, it takes people time to adapt.) But, the more time they spent on the rowers, the more they started to love how they felt.
A couples months later, Kendrick and I heard a sermon at our church by John Ortberg on the power of giving; and it sparked in us a desire to use our studio to give back to our local community. We were pressed with the question of: “How often did we give more than what we felt comfortable?” It was after our unsettling realization that we decided to actively give and trust that we would see that generous spirit come back to us. Kendrick had read about Feeding America and liked the transparency of the organization and also how 98.5% of the money donated goes directly to food (less than 1% goes to administrative costs-according to charitynavigator.org). This was a very high number compared to most charities. We also liked that they linked up with local food banks, and that our money donated would get to feed those within our community.
…And so began the concept of rowing for meals. Our initial plan was to encourage clients to come early before class to warm-up and get in some extra cardio. Kendrick had been telling clients that if they rowed at least 500 meters, that he would donate 1 meal to Feeding America. (This equated to about $0.10/meal since they buy in bulk quantities). We started tracking how many “meals” each client had contributed. By the end of our first month, the buzz was swarming. Clients loved the concept and were excited about working out on the rower. Kendrick and I thought, “How can we help clients row for more meals while they’re here?”
In our K-Fit Experience class, we have a 6-minute relay that clients complete during their second set on the rowers. Instead of offering 1 meal per 500 meters, we would offer 1 meal per 250 meters! This created a little more competition and desire to row faster in order to donate more meals. And so, at the end of the relay, each client adds up how many meals they rowed and tallies it on the board.
Each month, Kendrick and I add up the meals and donate a portion of our personal earnings to Feeding America. A few months into our fundraiser, clients started to approach us asking if they could “match” what we donated and contribute as well. Our answer? “Of course!!” We seriously are so blessed with amazing clients who are 100% behind us and support us in whatever we do. Since Kendrick and I don’t have family in California (except my sister who now lives here-yay!), they have become our family and our #1 fans. It has been over a year since we started our “Row for Meals” program, and we’ve donated over 23,000 meals to families in need. This would NOT have been possible without their generosity and support.
We plan to continue this program as long as our studio is in business; and wholeheartedly believe that “the key to living is giving”.
If you’d like to make a donation to Feeding America, click here.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear about ways in which you give back to your community. Please share in the comments below! 🙂