Many grow up believing that kissing a frog makes dreams come true, but what might kissing a pig bring? For more than a decade, Rich Products associates in the northwest corner of Arkansas have participated in one of the area’s most-conspicuous charitable events: the race to Kiss a Pig.
Kiss a Pig, a nationwide fund-raiser for the American Diabetes Association, is one of northwest Arkansas’ top activities for charity. Rich’s has been a proud sponsor of the local event since its inception. Each year 10 members of the community are selected to compete in a seven-week fund-raising contest to support diabetes research and related programs. The top fundraiser earns the privilege of kissing a pig at a campaign celebration gala. The porcine sign of affection was conceived out of admiration for the pig, because the animal was the first source of insulin.
In 2011, Corey Williamson, a salesperson in Rich’s Bentonville, Ark., office, was selected to represent the company in the race for the kiss. Williamson took the nomination to heart and immediately began brainstorming ideas to secure the most donations for the cause.
“I was honored to be chosen and proud to represent Rich’s,” said Williamson. “My hope was to come up with the most inventive ways to draw attention to my efforts. Because two of my grandparents lived with diabetes, making a large financial impact was important to me; but, it was equally as important to bring awareness to the cause.”
And bring awareness he did. During the seven-week competition, Williamson conducted six fundraising events, gathered in-kind donations and collected dozens of items for silent auction. His hard work yielded nearly $35,000 for the American Diabetes Association and, yes, in the end, he sealed the deal with a kiss from a pig, along with much appreciation from those affected by diabetes.