Expedition Give is like The Amazing Race with a unique charity twist. Giving101 organized the race third year in Atlanta. In this five-hour scavenger hunt, teams of two race all over the city collecting items, taking pictures, and completing community service projects to earn points. Teams with the most points take home some prizes. It is a fun way to compete, be challenged and give back to the community-all at the same time!

The Go.Eat.Give Team participated in the race on September 10, 2011. We were given 20 clues and roughly 5 hours. You can only work in pairs as a team although we had our friends join as part of the larger group. The race started and ended at the GA Tech School of Management and the locations of the tasks were spread around Midtown Atlanta.

Clues included some easy tasks like going to LA Fitness and making a CUREchief for cancer patients, recording a story (The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein) for The Center for Visually Impaired to some harder ones, solving puzzles, identifying statues and much more. The first thing we did was strategize on which locations we wanted to cover first, what tasks gave us the most points, etc. The idea was the collect as many points in as little time as possible. We ended up completing 18/20 tasks in a record time of 4 hours.

At the end of the race, there were celebrations and winners. Local restaurants and companies donated some fabulous prizes that were distributed to 20 of the 125 teams. Some of those included 50k miles from Delta Airlines, tickets to Braves, a year long subscription to The High Museum, certificates for skydiving, comedy clubs, restaurants and local area attractions. There were prizes for the best dressed team (Chicken and the Egg), best working team and the teams with the most points. We won the 13th prize and our friends were 3rd!

Together, the volunteers collected more than 1,000 items for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, prepared well over 500 toiletry kits for Lazarus Ministries, made nearly 100 scarves for cancer patients undergoing treatment, donated 100 pairs of socks for Georgia soldiers, created more than 200 birthday cards for terminally ill children, provide boxes of supplies for the Atlanta Children’s Shelter, baked and purchased enough treats for 12 local fire stations, collected and sent 200 pairs of shoes to Africa with Soles4Souls, created many recordings of The Giving Tree for The Center for the Visually Impaired, made hundreds of flashcards for English for Successful Living, delivered over 500 snack items to Kate’s Club, and much more – all while having a great time! Quite the impressive feat in under 5 hours!

I have to say my legs were killing me by the end of the day but the adrenaline was high. It was wonderful to see how people of Atlanta came together and devoted their time, money and a lot of energy towards a greater cause. The most fascinating aspect was how Giving101 created such a neat concept that served a dual purpose – a fun competitive race incorporated with giving back. It would be wonderful to see other cities adopt the same model and help the charities in their areas.