After six straight days of driving a fictional bus through a digital desert and over half a million dollars raised for Child’s Play Charity this year, the ninth annual Desert Bus for Hope fundraiser is entering its home stretch. They’re currently scheduled to continue streaming for most of tonight, and it’s possible they’ll go into the wee hours of tomorrow morning – the more donations they gather, the longer they drive. All the money goes to provide toys and games for children’s hospitals and shelters. It’s positively magical.
I watch every year, I hype it to my friends every year, but I still never quite remember how awesome this charity drive and its community really are until I’m back in the fold. Every year, talented crafters donate awesome items to be auctioned off and given away. Most of the crafts have already been mailed out, but you can still check out their galleries to get pumped for next year, or bid on the very last silent auction: these adorable needle-felted Game of Thrones house mascots. If you’re inspired, you can get involved yourself next year – though you’ll need to give the Bus Crew a month or so to recover before barraging them with donations.
The auctions may be nearly over, but there are a ton of giveaways still left for people watching and donating. For instance, tune in at 7pm PST tonight for information on how you could win the amazing Dragon Age staff featured in the screenshot at the top of the article.
Fans have meticulously tracked everything that’s happened so far, and every year there are more ways to interact and participate. During one of the first runs, a fan randomly coded these brilliant comparative graphs. Dedicated viewers create dozens of gifs, and the video strike team carefully tracks highlights, posting them to youtube for anyone who might have missed it live.
Then there’s the poster.
Beautifully illustrated by Michael Lee Lunsford of the webcomic Supernormal Step, the poster is updated continuously during the week, capturing individual moments of absurdity and madness. It has always been available for purchase when Desert Bus is over, but recently fans have taken it to the next level, creating an image map that links to archived videos. This is a great place to start if you’re trying to get a feel for what goes on here, or if you just wants to catch up on the highlights.
There are still a few amazing hours of Desert Bus left, but there’s still time to join our community! You can watch the stream and participate in the amazingly welcoming chat on twitch.
Come be a part of the virtual group hug that is Desert Bus. You’ll be glad you did.