Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 4:28 pm | Fair 59º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Triathlon Inspires Boy to Raise $4,000 for Foodbank

8-year-old participant Jacob Mansbach closes in on his goal

Jacob Mansbach, an energetic 8-year-old from Roosevelt Elementary School, is inspiring the Santa Barbara community to support the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Jacob Mansbach
Jacob Mansbach

One of the youngest participants in this year’s Santa Barbara Triathlon, taking place this Friday through Sunday, Jacob has set a fundraising goal of $4,000 for the organization — and is getting close to the mark.

Jacob first established a relationship with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County earlier this year when he volunteered at the warehouse. He helped to fill backpacks with fruits, vegetables and other nutritious food for the nonprofit’s BackPack Program, which focuses on helping homeless and transient children get the nutrition they need during the weekend, when they may not be receiving meals elsewhere.

“As a longtime community activist, the biggest challenge is to get young people involved,” said Ken Palley, a friend of the Mansbach family and environmental advocate. “This young man’s actions personify exactly the sort of selfless contributions to the welfare of the community that gives me hope for the future.”

With a kid’s natural love for biking, running around and playing in the ocean, Jacob found this year’s partnership between the Santa Barbara Triathlon and Foodbank of Santa Barbara County an ideal opportunity. He set two goals immediately: raising $4,000 for Foodbank, and crossing the finish line in the sprint course.

“Jacob’s lust for life and his unbridled energy, excitement and enthusiasm to ‘go big’ are immediately obvious,” says John Herzog, an avid triathlete and Ironman competitor. “I’m so impressed when kids do a triathlon. It’s a tough sport and requires a lot of character.”

“We’re inspired by Jacob, who has picked up the torch to help make our community a better place for us by fundraising for Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, this year’s nonprofit recipient selected by the community,” said Joe Coito, founder of the Santa Barbara Triathlon. “It is amazing how a few key individuals can make a difference and build momentum, like Jacob. He embodies what the Santa Barbara Triathlon is about.”

Naturally athletic, Jacob’s approach to preparing for the triathlon comes naturally through his enjoyment of being active and outdoors with his parents and younger brother — swimming, biking, surfing, hiking, stand-up paddleboarding and more.

“The most important part is having a good time,” Jacob said about the upcoming triathlon. “I also want to inspire kids my age to be interested in triathlon because it’s super fun!”

Jacob will be participating in the triathlon’s Sprint Course, on Sunday.

“Jacob’s energy is contagious and with it he has been able to rally his community together to help Foodbank,” said Jacob’s mother, Jennifer. “What a great learning opportunity, that with focus and desire he can help others by being who he is — a passionate, enthusiastic kid.”

With the help of family and friends and the support of the community, Jacob has raised more than $3,500 of his $4,000 goal. Click here to support Jacob and to follow his progress.

Volunteers are also needed for the Santa Barbara Triathlon. There are many exciting, supportive and fun positions available such as helping with registration, timing, course directions, packet stuffing, monitoring bike and swim courses, being at the finish line and more. Click here to register and for more information, and select “Foodbank” as the group affiliation when signing up.

— Candice Nyholt is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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