Telethon record as Rainbow Connection raises more than $211,000
Organizers of the 41st annual Rainbow Connection Telethon were ecstatic Sunday as the telethon set a record for donations.
After nine hours of broadcasting on Cable TV2, and live streaming on the Internet, the telethon ended with $211,257 for the Tuscarawas County Society for Children and Adults Inc.
Thatâ€™s $4,005 more that last yearâ€™s telethon record total, and is â€œa phenomenal number,â€ said Carmel Haueter, Rainbow Connection executive director.
â€œAs much as I believe in what we do, I am so pleased,â€ Haueter said after the dayâ€™s auctions were closed and its pledges counted. â€œWho would have thought we could have raised $211,257?â€
The â€œweâ€ Haueter was referring to are the telethonâ€™s many volunteers, donors, host groups, celebrity co-hosts, corporate sponsors, masters of ceremonies, and the â€œenormous amount of peopleâ€ who called in pledges â€” many right up the telethonâ€™s final minute. â€œIt take all of us. It takes every one of us,â€ Haueter said.
She also acknowledged the local news media for â€œhelping to get the word out.â€
A popular auction item was the weekâ€™s stay at the Beautiful Beach Colony Retreat at Navarre Beach, Fla., which this year went for a high bid of $2,100.
Haueter said donor Cindy Elsasser said if someone would pay an additional $2,100, she would donate an extra week at the retreat â€” and someone did.
Elsasser and her husband, Jon Elsasser, a celebrity co-host, also donated a Canal Tavern of Zoar brunch, which went for a bid of $275.
A second brunch was offered for the same money, and was sold for the same price. Another popular item this year was the family-friendly Elvis slot machine donated by a former Dover resident. It raised $850 at auction.
Two Ohio State University autographed footballs brought in $1,300 each.
â€œWeâ€™ve had a whole parade of people in here today, just bringing money in,â€ Haueter noted.
She said two little girls did a Valentine dance and donated money.
â€œItâ€™s just absolutely amazing,â€ Haueter said.
Haueter was concerned that Sundayâ€™s morning snowfall might create problems for the many children who conducted canister drives in conjunction with the telethon, and was relieved when they all came in safe. The children, she added, raised more than $1,000 for the telethon.
Rainbow Connection donations benefit disadvantaged and disabled county residents. The donations are used to buy medical supplies and equipment and assist in the payment of medical bills, prescriptions and technological assistance.
Tuscarawas Society for Children and Adults also offers programs for children with cancer and diabetes and programs on hearing enhancement and muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.