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Carson-Newman Hunger Games surpasses goal, raises $12,500 for charity

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Participants competing in this year’s Carson-Newman Hunger Games, pause briefly during a weekend of exciting fundraising.  Pictured, left to right, are Cameron Bledsoe, Sarah Hill, David McNeely, Kendra Ivins, Caleb Wise, Kathryn Spisso, Luke Creppel, and Cameron Harrell. The weekend-long event was followed by people all over the world including Australia, the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany.

Participants competing in this year’s Carson-Newman Hunger Games, pause briefly during a weekend of exciting fundraising. Pictured, left to right, are Cameron Bledsoe, Sarah Hill, David McNeely, Kendra Ivins, Caleb Wise, Kathryn Spisso, Luke Creppel, and Cameron Harrell. The weekend-long event was followed by people all over the world, including those from Australia, the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany.

Click here to view a Day Two recap, or scroll to the bottom to see video.

(Nov. 18, 2013) -- With the second Hunger Games movie about to hit theaters, students from Carson-Newman University held their own competition this weekend with a twist that brought in over $12,500 for nine East Tennessee charities.

“When we set the goal of $10,000, I thought that was such a lofty goal,” said Tommy Clapp, C-N director of First Year and Conference Services and director of the Hunger Games. “We not only reached it, we smashed it by over $2,000.”

The fundraiser coincides with the popular movie franchise’s opening of “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” on Nov. 23.

Inspired by the best-selling book trilogy by Suzanne Collins and the movie, the Carson-Newman Hunger Games incorporates elements of the franchise, Survivor and paintball to create a weekend-long, one-of-a-kind fundraiser.

This is the third time Carson-Newman has coordinated the event, but it is the first year that it has supported various different charities. Appalachian Outreach was the sole organization that benefited from C-N’s previous games.

Freshman Cameron Bledsoe, this year’s victor, won the largest share of the total amount raised for his charity, Habitat for Humanity. Over $6,000 went to the Jefferson County chapter, which builds homes for families in need.

Sheila Wiggins, with Habitat of Humanity, praised the efforts of Bledsoe and the other participants following the games’ conclusion.

“You are responsible for giving a home to the wonderful citizens of Jefferson County,” said Wiggins. “You made the American Dream come true for one of our great families of Jefferson County so thank you, thank you, thank you.”

The other eight charities represented received a percentage of the total raised. These included: Big Brothers and Big Sisters of East Tennessee, Knox Area Rescue Ministries, Knoxville’s Global Seeds, Appalachian Outreach, Boys and Girls Club of Dumplin Valley, Bonner Out-of-School Time Programs (BOOST), Yoke Youth Ministries, and Young Life. The amount each received was a reflection of how each charity’s assigned tribute competed.

Both charities and contestants raised money for the competition.

“I think engagement went campus-wide even though there were only 18 people on the field,” Clapp said.

YouTube videos of the games garnered over 3,000 views over the weekend alone. According to Google Analytics, people from 50 different countries, including Australia, the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany, followed the competition via social media and live streaming.

“Even though I didn’t win the games, I feel blessed in being able to help raise over $12,000 for charity,” said Hunger Games participant and C-N senior David Saroka. “Because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re there for; that’s what we’ve been called to do — help our community, help those around us, and help those in need.”

According to Clapp, a fourth edition of Carson-Newman Hunger Games is already in the works for the next academic year.

“As always, we will add twists and turns that make it different for each game,” Clapp said.

One aspect that will remain the same, Clapp stressed, is the commitment to raising money for charities.

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