Snuggling up to smooch a swine may not conjure images of warmth during a cold snap, but the people who run the American Diabetes Association say there is no wrong time to kiss a pig — especially if it’s in the name of research.
The organization hosted a banquet Thursday evening at the Savannah Hyatt to thank the volunteers and competing teams from last year’s 18th annual Kiss-A-Pig Campaign, and despite frigid temperatures, the celebration drew a crowd. The theme for this year’s campaign, “Swine Wars,” also was announced. The theme is a take-off of the Star Wars films.
During the annual fundraiser, teams compete to see who can raise the most money for diabetes research.
For the past several years, the top two competitors have been Team Chatham County Public Schools and Team Liberty County, but several other communities and organizations compete as well.
In 2008 Team Liberty County raised an astounding $160,000, giving Team Liberty candidate Danny Creasy the right to kiss a pig. The pig is the focal point of the ADA’s signature event because the animal’s pancreas was the first source of insulin for people who were living with diabetes
Since then, Creasy stayed involved with the annual campaign and will bring his fundraising skills to Team Liberty this year as the campaign manager for candidate Joel Osteen.
Already revving the campaign into high gear, Creasy is busy planning Team Liberty’s top fundraising event, the Friends for Diabetes Sporting Clays Tournament held annually at the Dorchester Shooting Preserve.
According to Maria Center, director for the Southeast Georgia and Coastal South Carolina American Diabetes Association, the sporting clays shoot has raised more than $300,000 to benefit the ADA during the past seven years.
Creasy said the clay shoot is set for April 2 and the team has added another event at the preserve for April 1.
“This year, in addition to the clay shoot, we will be hosting a wild game supper and live auction at the Dorchester Shooting Preserve as well,” he said. “We are really excited to bring this new element to our Kiss-a-Pig campaign and think it will be a great addition to our sporting clays tournament.”
Creasy said Team Liberty’s goal this year is to streamline their fundraising efforts.
“And the Dorchester event has always been our largest fund raiser,” he said. “We decided to put all of our efforts into one weekend at Dorchester and really take advantage of the wonderful venue. The lodge is such a beautiful place and people really seem to enjoy events when they are held there. The dinner and auction is shaping up to be a great event. We have some really great things that will be available at the auction to include a Browning shotgun, grills, catered dinners, low country boils, hunting trips, fishing trips and a weekend stay in the mountains.”
Tickets to the wild game supper and auction will be limited to the first 150 people and the tickets are $50 each.
Last year’s Kiss-a-Pig events brought in around $200,000 despite tough economic conditions. Team Chatham County won first place by raising $75,000 and team Liberty took second, bringing in $51,000. Other teams included a group from Tattnall County, a team from Beaufort, S.C., radio personalities and Savannah area businesses.
The campaign has raised more $1.7 million for the ADA and is entering its 19th year.