Topic: Neighbors in Need
The owner of WBLL-AM in Bellefontaine, Ohio, wanted to create a community event from scratch that would benefit a local cause not often in the spotlight. Enter "Rail Jam," a snowboarding contest at Mad River Mountain that is both a fundraiser for the Society of St. Vincent DePaul of St. Patrick Church and a family event rolled into one. For the past three years the station has organized, sponsored and promoted the event. Admission requires only a donation of a non-perishable food or household item to St. Vincent, which provides for the poor. The 2007 "Rail Jam" collected enough food to feed 11 families for three months. The station brought in local snowboarding celebrity and X Games finalist Louie Vito to host the event. On-air coverage included interviews beforehand, live cut-ins during the event and news stories after the competition. All of the prizes for the winning snowboarders were donated or solicited by the station. "It was a huge success," said Judy Heck from St. Patrick Church. "It meant so much to St. Vincent because of the amount of support it provided, and it also gave hundreds of kids the option to participate in a day of fun without having to pay."
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