Espanola Lions Club helps make Christmas brighter for children
The annual Lions Club Children’s Christmas Telethon took place at the Sudbury CTV studios on Saturday, Dec. 1. The nine-hour broadcast telethon brought in a whopping $318,370, which surpassed their original goal of $280,000.
The Espanola Lions Club was represented by Sonja and Chad Lamothe, Joe Charette and John Hache who all staffed the telephone lines for donations between 4-5 p.m. on Saturday. They also brought a cheque for $500 from the Espanola Lions to donate to the telethon.
The 70th annual children’s telethon in Sudbury has a rich history of people coming together to help those less fortunate, that goes back to 1949. Back then the Salvation Army was out in the snowy streets of Sudbury with their Christmas collection pots to help children and their families who were struggling. ‘Members of the Sudbury Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartets’ decided to help by entertaining people with their singing outside near the Christmas collection pots at four downtown Salvation Army locations.
“This original idea grew to stage and radio shows, and by 1951, the Barbershop Quartets Christmas Toy Drive had become a Christmas institution.”
From there the first AllStar Program of local talent was held at the Capitol Theatre in Sudbury, and the show was broadcast live on CHNO radio station. They collected more than 1,000 toys for children that day.
In 1953, the new television station CKSO came on board to help the Barbershop Quartet organization, and a five-hour volunteer talent show was launched.
“On Dec. 5, 1998, MCTV-CTV staged a celebration of 50 years of caring for kids at Christmas with a huge production that brought in a record $211,000 during the ninehour telethon.”
The Barber-shoppers ran the toy drive until 1956, then CKSO-TV and the Jaycee Club coordinated the fundraiser until about 1966. It was sometime after 1966 that the television station partnered with the Lions Club. The Lions remain the service club, which handles all the telethon finances to this day.
By the second week of December, the Espanola Lions Club will be shopping locally to buy toys and gifts for children on their list of families that need a helping hand at Christmas in the Espanola and surrounding areas. Then on a designated day, about 40 volunteers meet up with the Lions to help wrap up to 1,500 Christmas gifts for children. Following that day, volunteers make all the deliveries of the gifts to children before Christmas.
Service clubs such as the Lions, help so many in need throughout the year, but helping children have a brighter Christmas is what it’s all about.
Making the presentation of a $500 cheque to the Annual CTV Lions Club Children’s Christmas Telethon are: Joe Charette, Sonja Lamothe, Chad Lamothe and John Hache, all members of the Espanola Lions Club.