The beauty of the Ice Bucket Challenge came out of its simplicity, combined with its viral nature. An easy to understand, uncomplicated act that everyone “gets,” tied to a charity. No need for tools, signups, pledges or pink shorts; 100 percent goes right to the charity.
So with that in mind we came across another idea gaining some steam for September. A simple game of kickball. While not as easy as dumping an ice bucket, kickball, like a simple game of catch (another idea which has been used to grow charity initiatives in minor league baseball in recent years), kickball is simple, easy to play, can have some great viral moments and requires little outside of a ball and some friends. Play it in a park, on a street, a schoolyard, wherever. Young and old can play for hours or minutes.
So with September being National Hunger Awareness Month, the ShopRite supermarket chain and some of its employees have looked to kickball to take a slap at hunger. Local stores are organizing simple kickball games with employees, families and friends, with each participant dropping a few dollars or some product from ShopRite toward the cause. The money raised goes right to Shoprite for product that goes right to homeless shelters and food pantries at a time when it is needed most, as those places usually go bare when people donating go away for the summer, and kids return to start school and need that boost more than ever.
Every year during September — National Hunger Awareness Month — employees of the ShopRite try to raise money for the company’s Partners in Caring Program, a hunger-fighting initiative that supports more than 1,700 charities. Since the program began, ShopRite has donated more than $29 million to food banks to help feed the hungry. This year’s goal is to raise $1.5 million for food pantries.
The great piece of the pie that ShopRite can also bring to the front for such campaigns are through their co-op programs with brands. Expanding a simple kickball game to include product pulled in from brands in stores through their co-op programs gets more people involved, and can target national products in much-needed categories to fill the shelves as well. Those distributors can also pull in more employees to participate and grow the pool as well.
Gain the beauty of kickball is its simplicity; there are no master skills or a special field needed, and a ball gets everyone involved. Heck, impromptu games can even pop up in supermarket parking lots for a few minutes right after work, and in a cell-phone happy world, videos from fun to impressive can pop up pretty quickly.
Will kickball catch on like bucket dumping? Probably not as big or as viral, but it’s a great effort for the chain to raise product and awareness for yet another worthy cause.