Cold Water or Warm Hearts

A few weeks ago I opened my Facebook page to find a tag from one of my best friends.  She had tagged me in a video she posted, and naturally curious, I watched the video.  To my horror, she had “called me out” to participate in an ice bucket challenge.  What does this mean you ask?  It meant that I could either:

  • dump a large amount of ice water on my head, record it, and post it
  • OR
  • I had to donate $100 to my friend’s charity of choice.


(Ice water for the challenge.)

I am not the type of person to take on challenges, especially from a Facebook post, and I usually just ignore whatever silly thing my friends ask me to do.  However, this challenge I thought long and hard about.

I’ve worked in nonprofits for the past 10 years and have a great passion for the work I do here at Roadrunner Food Bank.  What struck me about this particular challenge is that it was a brilliant new way to engage the community in philanthropy.  Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, especially for those aged 30 and under and here was an opportunity to use that amazing tool to raise awareness and money.  The challenge uses social pressure to encourage a younger population to pick a charity they care about and give them some money.  And it’s working.

My thought process when deciding whether or not to accept the challenge was that it was yet another way I could make people aware of Roadrunner Food Bank and the work we do.  In addition to that, I would then have the opportunity to “call out” five of my friends to either:

  • dump the water on their head and donate a small amount of money
  • OR
  • skip out on the fun and donate $100 to Roadrunner Food Bank.

So unsurprisingly, I took the challenge.


(The shocking-cold ice water being poured over my head for the challenge.)

I chose to donate $50 to Roadrunner Food Bank and called out five of my friends who are, as I type, prepping themselves for how cold that water will be and how good it will feel to have given to their community and had a little fun doing it.

Alissa Barnes is Director of Community Initiatives for Roadrunner Food Bank.

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