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River Falls sisters give it a 'tri'

The Redmond girls, from left: Grace, Ava, and Olivia presented $1,500 to Candice Rapley (back) at the River Falls Community Food Pantry on Friday, Sept. 6. The girls raised the money by doing a summer long triathlon. 1 / 2
Each Redmond girl picked a leg of the triathlon to complete. Twelve-year old Grace, biked 150 miles; nine-year old Ava, ran 100 miles; and nine-year old Olivia, swam seven miles, throughout the summer. Money raised was donated to the local food pantry.2 / 2

With long summer days ahead, the Redmond girls, Grace, 12; Ava, 9; and Olivia, 9, were looking for something to keep them busy.

With thoughts of others, the girls decided to each complete a leg of a triathlon -- swimming, biking, running -- and raise money for the River Falls Community Food Pantry.

Mom, Shelly, said both Ava and Olivia became familiar with the food pantry after doing food drives at Westside Elementary, where they are now fourth graders.

She said that having moved in June 2012, from New Prague, Minn., the girls were interested in the food pantry, since New Prague did not have one.

With hopes of volunteering at the food pantry, the Redmonds met with Rick Pechacek, a volunteer at the food pantry, who told them that because of the children's ages, they could help in two ways.

1) Buying food and giving it to the food pantry, or 2) Raising money and then donating the funds to the pantry.

He explained to the girls that the food pantry has a greater buying power with the money donated than an individual does buying on their own.

"We can purchase food from government subsidized sources at a much lower rate than retail stores thereby extending your cash donation as it relates to pounds of food," the food pantry website states.

Shelly said the family, including dad, Mischa, was given the example of a girl who used her artistic talents to create pieces of art to sell and then she donated the proceeds.

After visiting the food pantry, the Redmonds did some brainstorming and came up with the idea to do a triathlon. With Olivia doing the swimming, Grace doing the biking, and Ava doing the running.

The girls selected their leg based on their individual interests.

Prior to starting the triathlon, the girls set "realistic goals."

"It was a good learning experience to figure out how much to do each week to reach the goal," said Shelly.

She added that it was a great way for the girls to see that a little bit each day helped them get to the bigger goal.

Throughout the summer, Olivia swam seven miles, Grace biked 150 miles and Ava ran 100 miles.

Through it all, the girls, according to mom, "worked together."

To raise money the girls went around the neighborhood, Hills of Troy, and to their family's company, The Redwoods Company, and asked for sponsorships.

According to Shelly, donations ranged from $20 to $300 -- when all was said and done the girls had raised $1,500.

On Friday, Sept. 6, the town of Troy family went to the food pantry to present the money.

When not swimming, biking and running, Grace, a seventh grader at Meyer Middle School, plays in the school band and participates in the school musical.

While Ava and Olivia both play basketball and run track, and Olivia plays the piano.

With no immediate plans to do another triathlon, Shelly did say that they will plan something for next summer.

"Its good to set goals, good to be creative," she said, "good to figure out where there is a need."

See the Sept. 12 edition of the Journal for the complete article.

Jillian Dexheimer

Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.