You Did It!!!!! Free The Z Beat This Year’s Goal!
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night....we could give the postal service a run for its money because we had all of it (minus the heat) at this year's Free The Z 2018 Turkey Drive! And Kid, trooper that he was, withstood everything to help families in need across Eastern Maine!
Starting off at 6AM Tuesday, in a torrential downpour of freezing rain (that was literally cascading into the broadcast tent, perilously close to all of our electrical equipment) Kid and a rotating cast of on-air and support staff from Townsquare Media put out the plea; we need frozen turkeys! Our goal, 2018 to add to the 5,000 Penquis CAP needed to give to families who would otherwise be going without a Thanksgiving dinner this year! Thanks to the effort of some brave souls, who didn't mind getting a bit soggy, Kid went to bed in his trailer in the parking lot of the Brewer Hannaford, having collected about 534 turkeys by that first evening.
And then the wind started.
It was so bad Tuesday night, it blew apart the broadcast tent and sent the Free The Z banner across Wilson Street in to the parking lot of the old Rite Aid! And it rocked the trailer so hard, at one point Kid thought someone was trying to break in!
With help the next morning, he got everything as put back together as he could, but that wind was relentless! And it dropped the temp quite a bit, to the point people's cell phones stopped working! It.Was.Cold.
But the amazing thing about Mainers is they don't care. Well, actually they do. They care so much about helping others, that they don't care what Mother Nature's dishing out that day, they'll show up anyway! And you did! Despite the wind and frigid temps, by the end of day 2, you all had donated 1594 turkeys in total for Free The Z!
And just like that, day 3 arrived. And its as if Mother Nature sent apology weather our way. Beautiful sunshine and pretty mild temps led to the biggest push of the event...and sent our tally well over the goal of 2018, to a whopping 2,777 turkeys, more than half of what Penquis needs to feed families this year!
Things that are great about Free The Z:
First, you. Our listeners are the BEST! You guys showed up! In the worst of weather. And you weren't cheap either! Your generosity is inspiring, and we thank you! The fact that people have made it a family affair, bringing their kids is very cool. Its really fun, also, to see familiar faces year after year. A very special thanks to those who want to remain anonymous. The world may never know what you donate, but we do, and we appreciate it.
Second, local businesses are amazing! And creative! And we love when they talk smack (in a good way) and challenge each other--because it works out for the best every time! So to those businesses that had dress-down days, or passed the hat, or just busted out the checkbook and wrote a check, without you it would take us quadruple the time to get to our goal!
Third, the volunteers! It takes so many hands to pull this off each year! People to set up, people to bring food and drinks, people to run the ship back at the station while we're all out on location, people to physically take the turkeys from people's cars and put them on the truck, people to physically prop Kid up when he starts to fall asleep! (kidding, he's like the Keith Richards of the station--can go forever without a break and ageless!) So to everyone who donated their time, even if it was just to keep us company, thank you! Yay team!
And the fourth and final thing that's great about Free The Z, is that its lasted this long. The very first Free The Z took place almost 18 years ago. And the fact that it's still around and that its grown in to what it is today, is an awesome legacy. And one we're very proud of. To use our airwaves for good, that's an honor and we're grateful to not only help, but to have your assistance in doing good!
From all of us here at Townsquare Media, a very heartfelt and humble thank you. Thank you for making this year so special for us, and for those in need!