Sreeni Nair known as the “Naked Running Man”, has been so inspirational that a fan club has emerged that is now raising money for local charities. MercerMe reached out to the club’s organizer, Kelly Kolbjornsen, who described the fundraising efforts in an email:
“This started a little over a month ago. I posted on Facebook Hopewell Pennington Update page about seeing the local “Naked Running Man” one very cold morning while waiting for my son to catch the bus. I said how it always brightens everyone’s day to see him. There was a ton of “Likes” and comments on the post. A friend of mine commented, “We need shirts”! I have an Etsy business and the ability to make shirts so I responded that I could make that happen. I said we can make shirts and donate to a local organization of his choice. And some people commented they would buy a shirt. I didn’t personally know Sreeni Nair so I just sent him a message through Facebook introducing myself and telling him about the idea. He soon responded and was on board.
“We talked on the phone and he was delightful! He said, “Kelly all I do is run. I’m on board but I am not sure how many shirts we will sell. Maybe 20?” I assured him, “People LOVE seeing you run and I think you have more fans that you know! I think we’ll sell 50 shirts!” Sreeni chose to have both HomeFront and FoHVOS (Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Spaces) as the organizations who would receive donations.
“From there, I worked up a design and we messaged back and forth ideas and edits until we came up with the current finished design. I said starting a fan club page on Facebook would be the easiest way for me to get the word out and take orders and he agreed. I launched the page on February 6. (Naked Running Man Fan Club on Facebook) In a matter of a day we had sold over 100 shirts and had over 500 followers. It was awesome!
“We had no idea this would be so well received and supported! Since it kept growing we felt like maybe we can do more good. We decided to have an event raise donations for the Hopewell Valley Mobile Food Pantry. We encouraged people to come out with donations and meet the Naked Running Man. We added face masks, koozies, and magnets with the NRM fan club design.
“We reached 350 shirt sales! This means a $1750 donation for HomeFront and a $1750 donation for FoHVOS! The mobile food pantry event brought in over 70 bags worth of groceries and has raised just under $300 currently. Anyother sales of NRM stuff through the end of March will be added to the mobile food pantry’s donation total. We are in the works of planning something in April to benefit Womenspace.
“We are again so very thankful for how this has gone. We had no idea it would become this big! People can order shirts, magnets or face masks by sending a message through the Facebook fan page. I will respond to all messages and take order through that page. Any orders placed will go toward the organization currently being featured to raise for at that time. You can find the facebook page here.