Thousands of dollars have been donated to local charities as a result of a recent challenge phenomenon in the First City of Kansas.

By MARK ROUNTREE
mrountree@leavenworthtimes.com


Thousands of dollars have been donated to local charities as a result of a recent challenge phenomenon in the First City of Kansas.
People are lining up to take the Cricket Challenge.
“The idea came from a Mexican restaurant in Kansas City that served cricket tacos,” said Leavenworth Times News Editor Rimsie McConiga, the brainchild of the challenge. “I thought it sounded interesting and asked if I could try just one. On the drive home, I thought this would be a great way to raise money for local charities.”
The format is basic. A person eats a baked cricket and then challenges someone else to eat one.
Each person challenged donates to a local charity. Crickets keep getting eaten, challenges keep getting extended and donations keep getting made.

Approximately 65 people have taken the challenge since it began in December 2017.
“Most people say it didn’t taste bad at all,” McConiga said.
Those who have taken the challenge include city, county and state officials, political candidates, school administrators, attorneys, prison officials, members of civic organizations and law enforcement officials. Three dogs even took the challenge – only one agreed to eat the cricket.
Approximately $5,000 has been pledged for donations so far. There is no suggested amount to be donated.
“We never ask how much someone is donating,” McConiga said. “But most people have offered the information. We have only asked which charity they are going to give their donation to.”
The crickets are baked. Some are seasoned with flavors. One eater brought hot sauce to pour on a cricket, a few others ate them with chocolate.

One eater ate a cricket with chopsticks. Another had a glass of wine while eating a cricket.
“The best part of the challenge is knowing money will be donated to local charities,” McConiga said. “The funniest part is watching the wide range of facial expressions when we are taking photos of the cricket eaters.”
McConiga said there have been an equal number of men and women who have taken the challenge and even a few young teens.

All photos of the eaters have been posted in the newspaper, on the newspaper’s website and Facebook page.
Numerous local organizations and agencies have been the recipients of Cricket Challenge donations.
The Times is rolling out a new initiative in association with the Cricket Challenge. For the next few months, the Times is asking that all donations go to the Alliance Against Family Violence to assist that agency in its efforts to raise $50,000 it needs in order to reopen and help abused women, children and men in the community.
The public is invited to challenge people. For more information,  call 913-682-0305 or email news@leavenworthtimes.com