Father Steve Schultz of raised over $32,000 to help send 32 of his teenage parishoners to World Youth Day in Madrid.
This was no ordinary fundraiser, though. Fr. Schultz accomplished this feat by losing 43 pounds and accepting pledges from donors.
The fundraiser ran from Sept. 26, 2010 through March 6, 2011, and pledges ranged from $1 per pound of weight lost to $11 per pound of weight lost. More than 350 pledges were made resulting in more than $750 pledged per pound.
The whole parish, which consists of 5,000 families, was supporting the Father with his mission. “I had all the accountability and more," said Fr. Schultz. "People are still watching.”
His supporters were the key to his success, which he achieved through a combination of diet and exercise. “For me it was all about motivation," he said. "I didn’t want it bad enough to do it for myself.”
Fr. Schultz said that he started his weight loss fundraiser primarily to help the teens and their families, but also to help him prepare for the pilgrimage which took place Aug. 10-20.
"It's grueling," he said. "Last year I wasn't ready."
World Youth Day is an event held every few years where teenagers and twenty-somethings from around the world gather for prayer, concerts, worship and other activities. The Pope also makes an appearance for 2-3 days.