By DAVID MATTINGLY | WAVE 3 News
St. Joe’s Picnic For the Kids will be going virtual this weekend because of COVID-19.
“Who would’ve thought a year ago,” Grace Akers, St. Joe’s Executive Director said, “when we had our record-breaking picnic, we’d be facing this pandemic?”
The annual Louisville tradition attracts 50,000 to 60,000 people for two days of fundraising for the St. Joseph Children’s Home.
It’s not unusual to see people sitting elbow to elbow eating a fried chicken lunch, or crowding around the cake tent, hoping to win something sweet on a spin of the wheel.
In its 171 years, St. Joe’s Picnic has seen its share of pandemics from typhoid and cholera to the Spanish Flu.
Rejecting choices of canceling or postponing, St. Joe’s virtual offerings are listed on its website including raffles, auctions and even family picnics.
“So it’s really all about engaging,” Gary Friedman, St Joe’s Chief Advancement Officer, said. “What it’s also done, it’s giving us an opportunity to share our story to an even broader audience.”
St Joe’s will be attempting to follow the success of recent virtual charity events.
In May, Metro United Way went virtual with Giving Tuesday.
“We did everything virtually and were able to still raise close to $120,000 across our seven-county network that we have,” Metro United Way Chief Development Officer David Lopez said.
In June, the AMPED 2020 Dream Maker Awards broke records by going virtual.]
“Last year … we netted … just over $10,000,” AMPED Executive Director Dave Christopher Sr. said. “This year, it was over 40,000.”
“Virtual has given us a lot of opportunity,” Akers said. “We take care of children all over the state, not just Louisville. So it gives us the opportunity to reach people all over Kentucky, quite frankly all over the country.”