For Habitat Club, Building is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

…lettuce, that is

With teens jumping on the bandwagon of so many Internet challenges these days—and many of them making headlines for all the wrong reasons—it’s nice to see a group who’s getting in on the fun for a good cause.

It’s called a lettuce-eating contest, and unlike the cinnamon and tide pod challenges of the world, this viral sensation is silly without the risk factor. The idea to host one at Gulf Coast High School came from the school’s Habitat Club.

Sophomore and Gulf Coast High Habitat Club President, Kevin Kacperowski and his friends Stuart Wisnom, Sophie Guelfi, and Angelique Tran founded the club this past fall. Kevin had seen the impact of Habitat in his hometown back in New Jersey, and when he moved to Naples he knew he wanted to lead other teens to get involved in Habitat’s work in Collier County.

“It’s a lot of responsibility,” he says, “but if you believe that you can do it, you can.”

Getting Creative

The students were looking for more ways to get involved and help Habitat-especially for members of the club who hadn’t been able to make it to a job site. The minimum age to work on our construction sites is 16, so even Kevin himself hadn’t been able to attend club builds this school year. He and other younger members of the club participated in other ways, like offering to help clean up in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and they wanted to continue finding new ways to get more students involved.

While brainstorming new means to offer a hand-up to local families through Habitat, the team remembered the funny videos they had seen going around social media of lettuce eating clubs and competitions, and they knew it would be a great way not only to raise funds for Habitat, but to get their whole school in on the fun.

Let the Games Begin

The rules were simple: make a $3 donation to enter, one head of lettuce per competitor, and the male and female competitors who finish the entire head of lettuce the fastest would be crowned champions. Competitors could choose to BYOD, or bring your own dressing, to help make eating an entire head of lettuce in just minutes feel more like eating an actual salad. In addition to some serious bragging rights, the winners also received hand-made lettuce crowns to commemorate their victories.

The Habitat Club even got local businesses involved to make sure that all donations would go straight to Habitat, tapping Nick and Chris Sweat of MVP Realty and Gordon Foods Naples who generously sponsored all of the heads of lettuce and supplies for the competition.

With the rules in place and the details taken care of, the Habitat Club advertised the competition and got their classmates excited about the upcoming event. Competitors and spectators showed up en masse to be part of the inaugural lettuce eating contest, and to make their contributions to Habitat for Humanity of Collier County. 

At the end of the competition, two champions were crowned out of the dozens of student and teacher participants, but it was more about having fun and making a difference than winning. In all, the event raised nearly $400 for Habitat and spread the word about the club and their work in the community. With the contest proving to be such a success, the club is already planning to make it an annual event to raise funds and awareness for their favorite cause. 

It doesn’t take a contest to make a difference. Donate to Habitat today to be part of a family’s journey to homeownership.