As you may have noticed, my theme around this time of year is giving. Radio has a long history of giving back to its community. Today, let’s take a look at a few examples of what radio stations around the country are doing to help the disadvantaged during this year’s holiday season.
First stop is in Savannah, GA, where 98.7 The River has brought hope and smiles to the families of children at the Backus Children’s Hospital and Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute. A veritable avalanche of toys, gifts, and gift cards was bestowed upon the families of the hospitalized children this year in the wake of The River’s Mark Robertson using his show to read the letters to Santa written by these kids.
WTOC-TV covered the story:
“I always knew there were generous listeners but I didn’t know it would be to this extent. This will really pull us out of a lot of debt and he was laid off, and with the baby, I have been out of work,” Jennifer LaFollette, Jaden’s mom, told WTOC. “This is the best Christmas we will probably have, even in years to come.”
Next, let’s stop in Detroit, MI, where The Robert Shumake Foundation, Radio One, WGPR 107.5 FM Radio, Prince Hall Masons and the Detroit Police Officers Association pooled their efforts last Wednesday collecting toys and frozen turkeys to distribute to families in need. The inaugural “Toy and Turkey Ball” was even set up in such a way as to allow even those unable to attend the opportunity to donate to the cause.
Via their press release:
Seldom Blues restaurant accepted unwrapped toys and frozen turkey donations on December 18, 2009 beginning at 11 a.m. from those who were unable to attend the ball. Donors were encouraged to drive up to the entrance of Seldom Blues for easy curbside service. People did not have to park or leave their cars as long as they were making a drive-up donation.
The toys and turkeys were distributed to a variety of local charities, including: Word of Faith International Christian Center and Operation Get Down.
For our last holiday tale, let’s head up the East Coast to Sarye, PA, where an event run by WAVR/WATS radio, Christmas is for Kids, raised $40,000 for the local Salvation Army. The Daily Review brings us the local view of the event, which included live musical performances (something radio is particularly good at leveraging for charity events):
During the three hours that the event was held, there was a “constant stream” of area residents who came to the theater to drop off cash, checks, and toys – all of which will go to the Sayre Salvation Army, he said.
“We are always impressed with the generosity of people in the Valley,” said Bowers, adding that it is a very difficult time in general for fund-raising, given the weak economy.
Late December, with its plummeting temperatures and often gray skies, can be a depressing time if you’re in bad circumstances. I spent two Christmases in Children’s Hospital of New Orleans due to leg surgeries; trust me, I know. With the economy still in such a dire state, the late Winter holidays can become a hardship, especially for those who have to explain why there are no presents this year.
It makes me proud of our industry when I see stories like these.
Tags: Backus Children's Hospital, charity, Christmas is for Kids, community, Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute, Detroit Police Officers Association, fundraising, holiday, Jennifer LaFollette, Mark Robertson, Operation Get Down, Prince Hall Masons, radio, Radio One, Sayre Salvation Army, Seldom Blues, The River, The Robert Shumake Foundation, Toy and Turkey Ball, WAVR/WATS, WGPR 107.5 FM, Word of Faith International Christian Center