30,245 Pounds of Food Collected
25,000 Meals for the Hungry
$70,854 Raised to Fight Hunger in Chicago
Nearly a thousand festive humans gathered on March 7, 2020 to create the annual spectacularly-festive, extraordinarily-costumed, epically-mobile food drive and charity shopping cart race — CHIditarod XV. On Chicago’s near West side, 250 volunteers and 98 teams of five costumed and thoroughly excited humans ran tricked-out shopping carts through five themed neighborhood checkpoints in the name of charity, prizes, and glory. CHIditarod raised the most food in the history of the fifteen-year-old race. We were blessed with sunshine throughout the morning and a high of 52 degrees!
The annual philanthropic spectacle raced through Chicago’s West Town neighborhoods, with each team visiting five checkpoints:. Five Star, Phyllis’s Musical Inn, Roots Handmade Pizza, Output Lounge, and newcomer Irish Nobleman. Each checkpoint hosted our costumed superstars with immersive themes, contests, and interactive opportunities. Our friends at Cobra Lounge graciously stepped up to host the Start and Finish Lines. We wrapped up the awards ceremony at City Hall, where there was music, munchies, and mega dancing. All bars have generously agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds to The CHIditarod Foundation to aid in our epic mission of fighting hunger in Chicago, in a time where it will be needed more than ever before.
The Food Drive
CHIditarod gleefully calls itself “probably the world’s largest mobile food drive”, and we could not be more impressed by this year’s food drive success. With the help of our friends at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the CHIditarod XV food drive collected enough food and funds to provide more than 25,000 meals for Chicago’s hungry. Thank you CHIditarod participants for being amazing all-stars and for making a difference in the lives of many, many people.
Food Drive Champions:
Cart nutz really went crazy on raising food, the cause that started CHIditarod. This team brought in 6,336 pounds of food to give to those in need. They also won best bribe for their offers of hits that aligned with each of Will Ferrell’s most iconic roles, as well as mini shopping carts adorned with cowbells and polaroids of participants.
An enormous THANK YOU to everyone for such a strong showing in our annual food drive. You help us make sure no Chicagoan goes hungry.
2nd Place Food Drive:
CHIditaKART was our second most food drive-driven team, bringing in 4,506.60 pounds of food, doubling last year’s second place team!
In a very close contest for third and fourth, CHIvengers were once again on the board with 2,332.00 and Crash Cart Dummies close behind with an amazing 2,319.00.
The Art Carts
Everyone loves big, over the top carts brimming with interactivity. 2020’s carts were diverse in experience, execution, and humor. Long standing crowd favorites HoboQ continued to grill it up on the street this year, making sure everyone enjoyed delectable snacks, music, and of course, fire.
Art Cart Champions: ChiditaRiver Queen
The S.S. ChidiaBelle, produced by Chicago’s very own Secret Gentleman’s Club, brought a three-cart River Boat to CHIditarod. Exceeding the height of a double decker bus, those granted a “ticket” could stand on the amazing vessel, play a few games, and learn about the steamboat ways with their entire crew.
2nd Place Art Cart: Toga Toga Toga
Toga Toga Toga had every detail possible in the final scene of Animal House. They ripped and roared through the streets, but kept everyone calm in the process.
Fundraising is the powerful force behind the CHIditarod Foundation’s hunger-fighting grant program, providing over $200,000 in grants to Chicagoland nonprofits who share in our mission to end hunger in Chicago. This year alone, our racers, volunteers, checkpoints, and organizers — with the help of their families, friends, and communities — raised more than $70,000 in support of this community grants program.
Our grant program will once again be able to support community-centered initiatives that address hunger, food scarcity, and education via the CHIditarod Grant Program.
Once again Nomeward Bound were fundraising idols. For several years they have been chasing this award, raising an awe inspiring $10,645. Nomeward Bound also took us on an 8-Bit adventure this year, and participated in the new category Multi-Cart Mayhem all day long.
2nd Place Fundraising:
In second place raising $8,674.22 was Artemis 2. It’s truly inspiring to see teams raise money for a cause in our own community each year. Artemis 2 was also winner of the Roots Choice Award.
3rd Place Fundraising:
3GS&T, 14th Ed
Insanely close to second place — with a total of $8,478.29 — this team, who has topped the Fundraising chats in the past, helped set the bar high in this category. We spent the day with them pillow fighting, talking about our secret crushes, and loving their sleep masks.
4th Place Fundraising:
Once again rounding out the top four, CHIdiots continues making lasting impacts with $3,152.50 raised in 2020. It doesn’t matter if you were naughty or nice, they were making sure no one in Chicago has to be hungry.
Learn about the power the CHIditarod Grant Program.
CHIditarod, The Race
Yes, CHIditarod is indeed still a timed race, despite how distracting fresh air and sunny skies may be on the first weekend of March. These times not only got their hustle on, but stayed on task along the way to get to the finish line, and the after party ahead of the rest.
Los Toros Fabulosos – 2hr 53min
Perhaps you watched them run by waving their red capes, or doing a dance for you. The hoofed it as if a bull was chasing them, with speed and grace, as a true matador does.
2nd Place Speed Racer:
Spartans – 2hr 55min
Spartans kept the matadors on their heels all afternoon, and were barely edged out on their brilliant charge to the finish line.
More Awesome Teams!
Best in Show:
For the first time, a ROOKIE TEAM won the high honor of Best in Show. You could check them out at your local newsstand, dishing all the dirt around town, and on the CHIditarod organization itself. We were going to give them Rookie of the Year as well, but coming out on your first run and stealing the show says it all — a truly epic debut!
Second Best in Show:
Queer as Heck
Did you sell your soul at a bargain rate? Eternal damnation came with a tri-fold pamphlet, greeting cards to send to your loved ones, and a coin to get you across the River Styx. Don’t forget the photo ops with Satan and the Grim Reaper. All in all 55 souls collected on an early March on the streets of Chicago isn’t too shabby.
Multi-Cart Mayhem Award:
Perhaps you joined in on the breakfast party, or found one of their clues planted in bars during the day. Their murder mystery cart made you do some brain work to find out who killed Victor Violet. Between tears, and tension, you were lead along to tale to find out it was the spurned long time friend of Mr. Violet, Colonel Cael Cabbage.
Rookie of the Year:
A team of ladies, never to Chiditarod before, in glitz and more glitz, in glitter and all things shiny. They danced, they laughed and they never stopped! It was a shiny disco party wherever they went, from start to finish. Congrats on bringing it hard and making us constantly distracted with your diva worthy brilliance.
Runner up, winning Rookie of the year Honorable Mention were, The Bad Eggs.
Racer Survey Results Are In!
Dick Dastardly Award:
The People of Walmart
Sabotage levels the playing field and keeps CHIditarod spicy. The People of Walmart team brought a sonic twist this year by attaching a crying baby in a baby carrier to their cart along with a note that said “Thanks for watching our baby while we shop”. The baby was programmed to make wailing noises for over 3 hours — wwhhaaaahhhh!
Queer As Heck
Satan gets the last laugh! After being edged out for Best In Show, the Queer As Heck crew make a comeback to win the People‘s Choice award for 2020. No surprise, this team owns their characters every year with brilliant costumes and theatrics. In their quest to capture our immortal souls, they stole the hearts of everyone they encountered.
Emergency Grant Awards
We cannot express how thankful we are and how far the food raised, as well as money, will go during a time of national crisis. The CHIditarod Foundation is proud to announce that part of the money that came in this year is being allocated immediately, going directly to food shelters around Chicago. Twelve of our smallest past grant applicants will get an additional $1,000 to combat food scarcity. This includes the following organizations:
- Dignity Diner
- Care for Friends
- Figueroa Wu
- New Eclipse Community Alliance
- Ujamaa Farmers Market
- Community Advancement for Excellence
- Star Farm
- Glenwood Sunday Market
- Common Pantry
- St Margaret Mary Holy Hands Ministry
- Ujamaa Co-op Farmers Market
While CHIditarod racers do wondrous things, none of this would be possible without the 245 brave and selfless volunteers that made CHIditarod XIV happen. Volunteers are truly the MVPs of CHIditarod.
Not only do many of them fundraise, they also build the starting and finish lines, braving the (often extreme) cold, create immersive and exciting environments at our awesome checkpoints, keep you safe while mobile, and give countless hours Coreganizing CHIditarod. To our volunteers, we honor and salute you all. You are truly our heroes.
Thank You Thank You Thank You!