Es­panola Lions Club helps make Christ­mas brighter for chil­dren

The Mid-North Monitor - - Front Page - BY PA­TRI­CIA DROHAN

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.

PHOTO SUP­PLIED

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.

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