It is always dangerous to put words down when you haven’t had time to fully process something. But in this case, I will take the chance and run the risk that the words that get created here are ones in which I will not look back and scrutinize but ones in which I will appreciate the raw emotion that comes from a combination of pure exhaustion, accomplishment, and humility.
We did it everyone. After months of planning, countless hours of commitment from staff and telethon planning committee members, we completed our 2nd annual Hunger Action Month 24-Hour Food Bank Telethon to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. We didn’t just complete it by stumbling over the finish line and congratulating ourselves on completing the marathon (And a marathon is THE perfect word to describe this event). We did it sprinting to the finish—having the satisfaction that we left it all on the field and did the best we could to hit our goal.
We did it by hitting our goal of $50,000 in less than 24 hours. A result of the work put in by every volunteer and staff member of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. It was truly an emotional finish.
You may never be in a situation where you talk about the same topic for 24 hours straight but this was a situation that I have put myself for 2 years in a row. Believe me when i tell you that when you do focus in on a specific topic for that amount of time—when you talk about it with many people from many organizations, from many different angles—you start to pick up on common themes. Those of you who participated in last year’s 24 Hour Food Bank Telethon may remember that the common theme seemed to be how people were using creativity to raise support for the issue of hunger. This year, the common theme for me seemed to take hold around the 3rd hour of our broadcast. It is one in which I mentioned many times throughout the 24 hour telethon. That theme is:
Give by doing what you know
Money and food donations are of course always welcome at the food bank. But I met a number of extraordinary people during this telethon that made me realize you can give by doing what you know. I saw that in my friend Neal McTighe from Nello’s Sauce who has started a Food Entrepreneur Mentoring Program. I saw it again talking to the talented people at Cline Design Associates who used their skills to design a crazy awesome CANstruction of Yogi Bear and collect cans in the process. I saw it yet again with the Grace Christian School’s Empty Bowls Event where art students painted bowls to sell for a fundraiser. And there were countless more examples of this in action.
What I know
For me, putting on a broadcast like this, live-streaming online, is what I know how to do. It is how I feel I can best help the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. While it may not be much, it is my unique way to help spread the word and give this issue of hunger in North Carolina the attention it deserves.
How will you utilize your skills to give back
Now it is your turn. What do you know how to do? How will you use it to help someone? I encourage everyone to think about that and make a difference! It is the most fulfilling thing you can do.
The most important donation
The most donation we collected during this telethon was one that you did not see on air. And while it may possibly have been one of the smallest donations we received, it was the most meaningful to me. After we stopped the cameras (and I was drying off after this celebratory dunk tank plunge) I saw my awesome family waiting for me. My daughter came up to me with her wallet open and asked how she could donate the $3 she had in there.
I’ve been asked many times what are the most rewarding parts about doing things like the telethon and for me tops on my list is having the opportunity to try and inspire people. To see my own daughter be driven to donate is the most rewarding of them all. She was so proud to know that her $3 will result in 15 meals for those in need in our area.