“What a difference a day makes… twenty-four little hours.”
Yesterday, a dedicated, motivated, and talented group of people banded together after months of planning to raise $50,000 for hunger relief using innovative tools that boiled down to this: twenty four hours of a live digital stream on a website from a warehouse tucked away in the heart of Raleigh, NC.
This amazing group of people reached out to local community members, musicians, magicians, clowns, passionate foodies, and companies with a heart for giving back to participate in this monumental feat. And all of this hosted by a digital guru, foodie, and local internet celeb that followed a grueling schedule of back to back 10-15 minute interviews for 24 hours straight.
That’s right, my friends… I’m talking about the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC‘s 24 Hour Telethon. If you haven’t heard: in a classic “photo finish”, we reached the goal of $50,000 in exactly 23 hours and 57 minutes.
All the nitty gritty numbers like unique page views and impressions will come next week (when we all get some rest and finish cleaning up!) but in the meantime, I’d like to share some of the highlights of my experience.
First of all… Gregory Ng – superhero host! His style of interviewing is mesmerizing. He can always find an imploring and intriguing question to ask to just about anyone. From the 70 year old farmer who has been gleaning fields for hunger relief for over 15 years to the CEO of a worldwide banking institution, his style of questioning in engaging and his timing impeccable. If you are not familiar with Greg and all of his incredible talents, check him out at followgreg.com or freezerburns.com
Next… the power of a dunking booth. It’s not easy to get people to actually commit to this idea, but with the right person at the right time, the impact is tremendous. We decided to dunk the Food Bank’s President/CEO right after an event that drew a large crowd (the Social Media Mixer.) We had employees, board members, the companies of those board members, and generally curious folks shell out their donations to see this engaging activity. In a matter of 2 hours, we raised over $3,000. Lucky for us, a local sports mascot (Wool E. Bull from the Durham Bulls Baseball Club) showed up unexpectedly to smack the button… literally with his head. Check out my colleagues short Vine vid: https://vine.co/v/hnbgimn62VQ
Never underestimate the power of food! We kicked of off our event with a Food Truck Rodeo and I discovered that these guys are passionate out putting out unique and scrumptious treats that will satisfy any food craving. Greg had the chance to not only try a tasty treat from all of six of our trucks, but also interview the owners. What a wonderful opportunity to see the masterminds behind the wheel!
To continue the food theme, we had pizzas delivered by the Little Caesers mascot (toga, toga!), sweet potato pies baked by one of our staff members from an incredible recipe by a former Social Media Ambassador, an unbelievably tasty barbeque at 3 am that literally delivered the spice to carry us through the midnight hours (thanks, Cackalacky!), and an amazingly beautiful and delicious breakfast by Chef Mario garnished with flora created by ends of celery and melons that would normally be tossed in the compost bin.
An amazing magician that nearly blew the mind of our host… 2 am dance lesson that energized our staff and volunteers… an uplifting sunrise yoga made even better in veggie costumes… musicians that kept us alert…
All of these things, and then the special moments like these:
Today, I am bone tired. But, not nearly as weary as the individuals, families and seniors who struggle with hunger on a daily basis. So, I’m encouraged by the fact that my energies, and the energy of all the amazing partners and volunteers for this tremendous effort will offer relief to those in need… to the tune of 250,000 meals.
This amazing event leaves me filled with a profound sense of gratitude, peace in the knowledge of a monumental goal accomplished, and joy that comes from the expression of true compassion by everyone who gave of their time, treasure and talents. Deepest thanks to all.