For close to five decades, volunteers have been coming together to present the Pictou County Christmas Fund Telethon.
The telethon is held to help ensure local families in need are able to enjoy a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and this year is no different.
The annual telethon will be taking centre stage for the 48th consecutive year with several changes for the fundraiser over previous years.
The most exciting change for the organizers is a new website Lucas Technology & Analytics designed. By visiting pictoucountychristmasfund.ca, visitors can learn about the organization, view photos of past events, listen to the telethon live and, most importantly, donate to the telethon online.
This year’s event will also see a change in venue; it will be held Nov. 27, for the first time ever at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. This location change was necessary due to scheduled construction at the deCoste Centre for Arts and Creativity in Pictou, which has hosted the event for the past few decades. The facility is currently closed due to renovations.
The event will run 1 to 6 p.m. upstairs at the Wellness Centre and will feature virtual performances of the Carillon Singers, African Nova Scotian Performing Arts Group, Miss Carla’s Dance, Steeltown, Brian and Brenda Bowden, E.B. Anderson, and many more. Viewers can tune in to Eastlink Community TV channel 10 to watch the show.
Co-chairs Monique Sobey and Debbie VanSickle say this virtual format is due to the continued presence of COVID in the community. Hosting the event live will be the familiar faces and voices of Ann MacGregor with Alex Theriault of Q97.9. Morning Breeze host Emma Freckelton will provide live updates on 94.1 from the site throughout the day.
Last year, more than $62,000 was raised during the five hours of the telethon. This year, no financial goal has been set.
“Our goal is to help as many families as possible,” said Sobey.
“We know the need is greater than ever this year with COVID, unemployment, inflation and more,” added VanSickle. “People are being challenged like never before.”
For the third year in a row, there will be no registration dates for those needing to access help through the fund. Instead, the Pictou County Food Bank will be distributing the gift cards, making sure they get to those in need.
Those who honour their pledges on or before Dec. 5 will be eligible to win one of about a dozen early bird prizes local merchants have provided. The draw will be held Dec. 6 at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County in New Glasgow. Pledges can be honoured at any local bank or credit union in Pictou County, at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County on MacGregor Street in New Glasgow, Atlantic Insurance on Provost Street, or Advocate Printing at Brown’s Point Road in Pictou.
Donations can be made during the telethon by calling 902-695-2585, by visiting pictoucountychristmasfund.ca or through the organization’s Facebook page.
For the volunteer organizers, as well as those who watch and listen to the show, the annual event is the unofficial start of the Christmas season.
“Residents and the business community are always very generous in their support of the telethon and we hope they will continue to recognize the need and support us,” Sobey said.
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