Thousands of students and community members saw the sun rise as they sold Kids Day editions of the Fresno Bee.
Kids Day has been the Valley’s opportunity to gather the community to sell a special editions of the Fresno Bee for $1 to help raise money for Valley Children’s Hospital since 1988.
Fresno State has been actively involved in Kids Day. Over 2,000 students and staff make their way out to the busiest intersections selling newspapers as early as 5 a.m. Last year the university alone raised over $43,000.
The Fresno State Army ROTC came in second place last year to Sigma Phi Epsilon in their first year participating, raising around $4,700, according to Cadet Lakhwinder Singh who led last year’s team.
The Army ROTC returned this year set out to win first place in the 29th annual Kids Day Fundraiser.
The team’s shortcoming was ultimately caused by their last minute decision to participate in Kids Day last year leaving them weak in numbers, “Later in the day we only had a few cadets out there so I think that’s the reason we may have lost,” Singh said.
This year, having been readily prepared with a scheduled time sheet, they had around 70 cadets at their prime selling papers and planned to have no fewer than 10 at my point.
The team camped out Monday night on the corner of Fresno’s busiest intersection.
“Myself and 10 other individuals, along with one of our fantastic cadre members, set up camp on Blackstone and Herndon so we could take that spot and stay there throughout the duration of the entire Kids Day,” Cadet Shaun Koerner said.
The night’s chilling 40 degree temperatures had no effect on the team’s excitement, “I had an overabundance of people who wanted to spend the night,” Koerner said. “We have a very motivated team.”
Singh credited a majority of last year’s sales to their unique strategies that grabbed drivers’ attentions.
In comparison to the competition, the cadets physically worked for their sales putting their Army training to good use to increase donations.
“Last year one of the tactics we used was we did push ups for newspapers. So we had cadets doing things like five pushups for $1,” Singh said.
The cadets also decorated signs and wore their Army ROTC shirts.
Although the ROTC strives for first place in anything they attempt, Kids Day is more than just a competition to them. It is an opportunity for them to get involved with the community as they try to do so as often as possible.
“They’re becoming future leaders in the military and as a military organization, we try to foster giving back to the community as much as they give to us,” said Master Sgt. Michael Ruggiero.
The team’s determination to give back paid off, considering by noon the team had already beat their record with about $5,000 and were still going strong.
Throughout the afternoon the team sent cadets to gather the leftover stacks of papers other teams failed to sell at the Joyal building, because they quickly ran low on their own newspaper supplies.
There were moments between pickups that left some corners paperless. The cadets remained engaged with drivers, reeling in donations without having papers to give in exchange.
The team finished strong raising a total of $7,600, almost twice as much as they made last year, placing first overall.
Fresno State exceeded last year’s total funds raised, adding up to more than 47,000.