Charity! Asphalt! Glory!
The Tale of the CHIditarod
How an underground costumed shopping cart race raised more than
100,000 pounds of food and more than $100,000 to fight hunger in Chicago!
Ten years ago, a small group of community-minded volunteers identified a need and looked for a new way to help. They set out to collect food donations for local food pantries by hosting a shopping cart “race” on the city streets. More than your average canned goods collection, the desire was to combine street art, improvisation, revelry and fun with a day of social awareness and — more importantly — community giving. This attracted a group of young, energetic first-time givers, participants and volunteers. The result was the first annual CHIditarod…and a Chicago charity tradition was born.
From those humble beginnings, CHIditarod has grown from 100+ to 1,000+ participants, formed a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and coordinated the donation of both hundreds of thousands pounds of food and dollars to fight food insecurity!
As CHIditarod celebrates its 10th anniversary, its organizers are eager to tell the story and inspire a new generation of doers!
Our goal is to share CHIditarod’s epic story in a 30-minute, broadcast quality program intended for airing on PBS and other similar public-interest stations. We anticipate having the video production completed by fall 2015 and promptly host a variety of local theater screenings and release video downloads, DVDs & Deluxe Edition DVDs loaded with extras.
CHIditarod has already influenced organizers in other cities by providing guidance on how to engage with their local communities with charity-focused events. We are eager to share the inspirational story about how a small, off-beat shopping cart race transformed into an engine for creative expression, community participation, and real social change!
Our Heroic Crew
We wish to thank the following crew members of our amazing documentary crew –
Devin Sebastian Bean
Jae Heon Lee
Best Boy Grip
Michael Egon Schiele
A dedicated handful of all volunteer core organizers, whom CHIditarod calls “Coreganizers”, create a welcoming context for participants, local businesses and spectators to revel in and contribute to something bigger for the greater good. And the city has taken notice:
“Each year, more than 812,000 people – 1 in 6 in Cook County – turn to the Food Depository for assistance. The need is significant. But, since 2006, the support of the CHIditarod has been instrumental as we work towards a day when no one goes hungry.”
— Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO of Greater Chicago Food Depository
“Support from the Chiditarod Foundation has allowed the E2L partners to improve the E2L garden, which grows healthy food for people, and to offer additional community events. This work is laying the groundwork for a healthy local food system in Englewood and Chicago.”
— Tom Spaulding, Executive Director of Angelic Organics Learning Center
“Chiditarod is probably my favorite event in Chicago. It really brings out the best people. In fact, more than 1,100 people braved the blustery, snowy cold on Saturday. Chiditarod is a shopping cart race/food drive/fundraiser/pub crawl/costume & art contest. The participation is astounding and the creativity mind blowing.”
— Bekki Y. Wasmuth 2014 participant blog entry
“Chiditarod Foundation has continued its impact in Chicago with yet another round of critical funding for not-for-profits in Chicago. Non-profits like ours can’t do the work we do without the support of organizations like Chiditarod and we are so thrilled to receive this funding. Chiditarod is a wonderful organization that understands the myriad of issues rooted in food security and nutrition education and, through their unique brand and style of fundraising, have become an impactful organization that showcases Chicago’s artistry, originality, spirit, and passion. We would like to thank Chiditarod Foundation and all those that made this funding possible and look forward to delivering our Delicious Nutritious Adventures programming, which educates Chicago school children about eating that’s good for the body and the planet, on their behalf.”
— Melissa Graham, Executive Director of Purple Asparagus
We are eager to share this inspirational story about how a small, off-beat shopping cart race transformed into an engine for creative expression, community participation, and real social change.
CHIditarod has influenced organizers in other cities, by providing guidance on how to engage with their local communities with charitably-focused events. Not only will the resulting documentary be entertaining, but it will also serve to inspire participation and positively affect social and artistic change. As a successful example of new approaches to activating volunteerism, creativity and fundraising, we know we have an important story to share. We invite you to please be a part of this project.