Chicago’s shopping cart race celebrates 12th year

By Yifang(Evonne) Liu

Hundreds of people gathered on March 4 for the annual CHIditarod.

The race started from Hubbard and Wolcott in the West Town neighborhood at 12:30 pm. (Yifang (Evonne) Liu/MEDILL)

The Chicago Urban Shopping Cart Race, known as the CHIditarod, is a charitable event held in the Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village neighborhoods.

To race, participants must have a team of five people, a decorated shopping cart, and bring at least 69 pounds of non-perishable food with them on the race day morning.

Participants must be prepared to bring food the day of the race to donate. Each team must contribute at least 69 pounds of food to enter.(Yifang (Evonne) Liu/MEDILL)

This year, more than 100 teams of five people in costumes race decorated shopping carts, according to the CHIditarod press release.

Now in its 12th year, the CHIditarod –a 100-percent volunteer driven organization – has raised more than 150,000 pounds of food for Chicago’s hungry and more than $145,000 for local non-profits fighting hunger in the Chicago area, according to the factsheet published on its website.

95% of all teams have costumed themes, according to the CHIditarod.(Yifang (Evonne) Liu/MEDILL)
Creativity is a huge part of this event. Wild costumes and insane themes are highly encouraged. (Yifang (Evonne) Liu/MEDILL)

“This is our first time here. We heard this through our friends who have participated in the race before. It’s a great course and it’s a great vehicle to make people be creative,” Allison Gerlach, a first-time participant said.

Allison Gerlach (left) and Carlos Pecciotto (right) join the race for the first time. They said they enjoyed this good course in a creative way. (Yifang (Evonne) Liu/MEDILL)
Don Austin put together a little team of friends, relatives and neighbors and said they are ready to have fun. (Yifang (Evonne) Liu/MEDILL)

Since the beginning of the CHIditarod Foundation’s grand program, $95,000 has been given out to like-minded non-profits who have new and creative ways of solving food scarcity.

Photo at top: CHIditarod was held on March 4 in Chicago. (Yifang(Evonne) Liu/MEDILL)