Telemiracle raises $40K-plus

Volunteer Ashley Esterby arranges balloons as part of Telemiracle 37 festivities at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre March 3.

Volunteer Ashley Esterby arranges balloons as part of Telemiracle 37 festivities at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre March 3.

By Gaven Crites

The phones rang and the dollars rolled in.
In the 36 years the Meadow Lake Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs have been raising money for Telemiracle, last weekend’s radio-a-thon ranks somewhere in the top 10.
A total of $41,794 was raised for Telemiracle 37 – the Kinsmen Foundation’s flagship charity telethon which raises money to assist people in Saskatchewan in acquiring special needs equipment and medical treatment.
The radio-a-thon at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre began at 9 p.m. Saturday, March  2 and wrapped up at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, mirroring the Telemiracle 37 broadcast from Saskatoon, which raised a total of $5,546,712 this year.
Kinsmen Club president Randy Wilchowy said the support they received this weekend was amazing.
“We put in time and effort, but the community support is just crazy,” Wilchowy said. “We raise just as much money as any Kinsmen or Kinette club in Saskatchewan.”
Wilchowy has been with the club for about 10 years and said the annual radio-a-thons will usually raise close to $40,000 – $50,000 dollars. He can only remember a handful of times when more money was raised.
The radio-a-thon is a convenient and great way to get the community involved in fundraising, he added.
“We decided as a club, before my time, that it was too far to go to Regina or Saskatoon (for Telemiracle),” he said. “We’ve been doing this for 36 years. The most amazing thing about this is it more or less carries itself.”
Telemiracle has raised more than $100 million for the Kinsmen Foundation since its inception 37 years ago. Last year’s total of $5.9 million is the single year record.
“The amount of money they put into our area is phenomenal,” Wilchowy said.
He added the money helps families with a variety of things, including money for plane tickets and hotel rooms for essential out of town surgeries, scooters or vehicle alterations to accommodate for wheelchair access and the Handi-Transit bus service.
Like the Telemiracle 37 crowd at TCU Place in Saskatoon, the people gathered at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre closed the show with the signing of O Canada after the grand total was revealed just after 5 p.m. Sunday.

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