Instead of attending an IA-sponsored service event, I took part in an amazing service project with my professional business fraternity, Phi Chi Theta. As an entire group, we all woke up bright and early at 4:30 am on November 18th. We then carpooled into downtown Columbus and arrived at our designated volunteer station for Columbus’s Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k aka “America’s Sweetest Race.” As an aid volunteer, we helped pass out water and Nuun sports drinks from our station to passing participants. In addition to beverages, we also offered small containers of chocolate chips and various other snacks for runners to boost energy.
Even though the majority of our service consisted of handing out food and drinks, we were also required to arrive extra early to set up and stay for a bit afterward to clean up, which was more work than I had thought. Hundreds of crushed cups and plastic containers were scattered everywhere along the street and a good amount of supplies remained. We also had to carry dozens of folding tables, coolers, hoses, and other supplies.
The profits of the Hot Chocolate Run 15k/5k go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. They are “on a quest to bring every eligible child’s wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child’s treatment journey.”
Although the early wake-up time was not ideal and standing out on the streets of Columbus in cold, windy conditions did not seem very enjoyable to me beforehand, I actually had an amazing time donating our earnings towards a good cause and having fun while doing so. It made my heart smile to also see the gratitude and kindness of the runners from just us handing out water. I remember them always saying “thank you”, but it is us who should have been thanking them for their perseverance, dedication, and hard work towards Make-A-Wish!
Although this service event does not relate too much to international affairs, Allstate (a large national company) has been working to expand these runs across the country to gain support and awareness for the charity and purpose. In addition, although this particular event was in Columbus, it is clear that this event works toward bettering the surrounding communities, which often spreads to others.
After attending this event, I was so invested that I reflected on how I would consider running myself in the future and potentially getting more involved. I thought about: how could this event possibly grow and expand in the long run? Could the number of charities involved increase if we gained enough participants and sponsors? If I do end up getting involved, I would love to get into contact with the decision-makers of the event to discuss where it is going!
Next year’s Hot Chocolate Run 15k/5k is already scheduled for November 17th, 2019, so I highly recommend that everyone sign up who can! It is truly a heartwarming event that radiates happiness and human kindness. Not only that, but it is an incredible opportunity to support children going through extremely difficult and unimaginable situations.