Locals tested the power of social media last week with a community-wide ice bucket challenge announced on Facebook. Within 48 hours, more than 40 participants lined up in the Tumbleweed Bar and Grill Restaurant with buckets ready to douse themselves in water and ice to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Matt Robinson, co-owner of Pop’s Ice vending in Gardner, said he’d had a lot of requests for ice because of the ice bucket challenge.
The challenge dares nominated participants to film themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads. Participants then call out others to do the same within 24 hours or to make a charitable donation.
The social media phenomenon went viral earlier this year, and for weeks, Facebook feeds have been dominated by videos of individuals dumping buckets of water over their heads.
The challenge was created to raise money for ALS, and with the help of social media, the With all the requests for ice, Robinson thought it might be fun to get lots of people together to take the challenge all at once.
Robinson decided he would donate the ice, and put suggested that the community take the challenge together on the Citizens for the Future of Gardner Facebook page.
“It was such a short notice thing,” Robinson said. “We had quite a few people that jumped in. Once it got on the Facebook page, it took off in a hurry.”
Within 48 hours, Robinson said more than 50 people had responded to the challenge, which was set for 1:15 p.m. on Aug. 22.
Robinson supplied a cattle trough filled with ice, and hooked a hose up to the side of the building. People dunked their buckets from home in the ice and filled the rest up with water.
Robinson estimates the participants went through more than 30, 16-pound bags of ice.
He estimates that approximately 40 people actually took the challenge on Friday afternoon, however there were just as many people at the event videotaping as there were participating.
“We even had one (participant) that had to be maybe three-years old,” Robinson said. She brought her own bucket covered with flowers. “She donated 32 cents. It was the cutest thing ever.”
The short-notice event raised just less than $300 for ALS.
After the initial bucket challenge, the participants had a water fight.
“It was a good one,” Robinson said. “It came out to be a very good thing in a very short period of time.”