Dress Up. Cause Chaos. Do Good.
CHIditarod is Chicago's Urban Shopping Cart Race, Food Drive, Costume Contest, Fund Raiser and all around Good Time. It is also one of the largest mobile food drives. The event gets it's name CHIditarod, from the Alaskan Iditarod. The date of the event was chosen to coincide with the kickoff of the Iditarod. The annual event is in it's 10th year and takes place in the Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village Chicago neighborhoods. There are some basic similarities between the races, but the Chiditarod is more focused on fun then coming in first. Instead of sleds, they use shopping carts, and instead of dogs, they have teams of five people: four pullers and one musher. Also, each team is required to start with 60 lbs of food in their cart for donation.
Amy Willen, event organizer for the last 6 years, contacted Chicago Communications to rent two-way radios for the day of the race. She choose ChiComm "after doing some research, Chicago Communications was the easiest to communicate with about out needs for our event. ChiComm was very flexible with questions and changes to our reservation, and they also gave us a much appreciated discount since we were a non-profit organization working to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository- an organization that ChiComm already works with and supports."
I asked Amy how the radios helped with the race. "Our event involves a mass on-site registration of over 1000 racers and volunteers in less than 2 hours. It is imperative for event organizers to have immediate and simultaneous communication with all the other organizers, who are never in the same place and are always running around. Without the radios and surveillance mics, the registration process would be much less efficient and much more frustrating. We have a large group of rowdy participants trying to get through a process , and there always inevitable problems and subsequent troubleshooting that must take place. Since we're limited by time, we have to streamline the process as much as possible. Being able to communicate instantly with other organizers absolutely makes the registration process work, which in turn makes the entire event flow accordingly. We wouldn't be able to do it without the radios! Prior to this year, we had been using some lesser quality radios from a different source, and the difference with ChiComm's equipment this year was significant with regards to how much smoother our communication abilities were."
The event draws over 1100 people, both participants and spectators, and has collected over 100,000 pounds of food and more than $100,000 in direct donations since 2006. Their fundraising efforts address food and hunger challenges by partnering with organizations that provide immediate hunger relief - like food pantries.
If you'd like to participate in CHIditarod X, mark your calendars for March 7th and sign up now! If you can't attend, you can always Donate. If you have an event like the Chiditarod coming up and need help with communications, contact us!