The Unity Campaign came to an end Sunday after raising more than $265,000 for 20 different nonprofits that serve basic human needs.
The campaign was a 12-day fundraiser that took donations to support nonprofits that provide resources such as food, shelter, clothing, financial assistance and health care. It surpassed its goal of $250,000 before it ended. Joe Gatewood, the chairman for the campaign, said the campaign raised more than $265,000, but it was too early to give a final count and donations were still coming in.
To celebrate the end of the campaign, organizers held a Unity Olympiad, where nonprofits came together to compete in games such as dodgeball, bubble soccer, tug of war and Simon Says — and raise that last bit of money.
There were about 16 teams competing, said Tony Checchia, the owner of the Frederick Indoors Sports Center, where the event was held. Each team had about 10 people on it — and some were combination teams that included different nonprofits. The games were open to people of all ages. Many team members dressed in style, with team shirts that said the name of the nonprofit with which they were competing.
Each event in the competition had its own scoring system and whichever team had the most points at the end of the games took home the win. Another bonus: 10 percent of the proceeds from the cafe in the center was donated back to the Unity Campaign.
The winner of the event — a combination team between Heartly House and Villa Maria of Frederick County — got an additional $500 for its charity. There was also a team spirit award which went to the Housing Authority of the City of Frederick. The Housing Authority also got an additional $500.
Checchia said the event was a success.
“To me, it looks like everyones having an absolute blast,” he said during the games. “It’s taking people back to their childhoods.”
He said the games weren’t meant to be competitive. They were just supposed to be a fun event that brought the community together.
“Today was really about bringing all the teams together to celebrate their hard work,” Checchia said.
It was also to raise awareness for the nonprofits.
Checchia said part of being a business owner in Frederick is helping the community, so he’s glad he was able to do so by lending his space.
“If you’re not giving back to the community,” he said, “you have no business being in Frederick.”
Mike and Chrissy Kernan came out to support the Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership. Both of them volunteer with the organization.
“Little things that we can do will change the world,” Chrissy Kernan said.
Elizabeth Chung, executive director of the Asian American Center of Frederick, said the olympiad was a great event and she commended the Frederick community. She said she’s glad to have been able to participate in the Unity Campaign and she keeps an open door to serve everyone in the community.
“My main goal was really showing the Unity spirit,” she said. “We can do it for each other, with each other, by each other.”
Also participating in the olympiad was Mike Greenberg, the Public Relations Manager for the Frederick Rescue Mission.
Greenberg actually entered the Frederick Mission in October of 2014 to get help for a drug addiction.
Before he came into the program, he didn’t know what to do. He said he had burned all of the bridges he could in New York, where he lived before, and he ended up at the Frederick Rescue Mission.
“I never really knew organizations like this existed,” he said. “It gives hope to people struggling. I was overwhelmed by people who actually cared.”
He graduated the program and became an intern at the Mission. And on Wednesday, he officially became an employee.
He said the campaign was a great effort that pulled everyone together to help each other.
“You can get all the resources in Frederick together,” he said. “That’s what Frederick is about.”