WRAL Viewers Donate Nearly $80,000 and 8,400 Coats for Children

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22nd Annual Campaign Surpasses Previous Totals

Coats for the Children
The generous viewers of WRAL-TV donated 8,400 coats and almost $80,000 during the 22nd Annual Coats for the Children Campaign.

The new year has begun, and thousands of Triangle children will be warmer because of the kindness of WRAL-TV viewers.  Volunteers gathered on Saturday, January 8, 2011, to sort the 8,400 coats collected at Wake County locations during WRAL’s 22nd annual Coats for the Children Campaign.  The effort also brought in nearly $80,000 in monetary donations as well.

“It is heartening to see the generosity of our viewers,” said WRAL-TV Vice President & General Manager Steve Hammel.  “The number of coats and cash donated is wonderful, especially during these economic times.”

New to the campaign this year, viewers could text in donations.  WRAL-TV Director of Local Production Phyllis Parish came up with the idea to add the new element.

“I’ve wanted to ‘reach out’ in a different way to younger viewers who might want to donate,” said Parish.  “What better than via their cell phones!” 

Parish worked with the Wake County Salvation Army to make the texting capability a reality.  They used the Army’s national texting number for donations and set up a code word specific for Coats contributors.

She expects the texting total to grow each year as promotion for the new way to donate grows.

Coats for the Children
The WRAL-TV Studios turned into a phone bank and holiday backdrop for the Coats Telethon on December 10th.

The campaign kicked off during the WRAL Raleigh Christmas Parade on November 20, 2010, and continued through the last day of the year.  A cornerstone to Coats for the Children, the 22nd annual telethon took place on Friday, December 10th.

“When you walk into the telethon studio, you instantly catch the holiday spirit!” said Parish, who produces the daylong telethon.  “Christmas trees, snowflakes, pictures of children bundled up in their warm coats and hats.”

The passion of Parish and her WRAL co-workers is palpable in the studio and beyond.

“The Coats Telethon is one of my favorite projects of the year!” she said.  “Every WRAL-TV department is involved and you feel the collaborative spirit throughout the project.  My colleagues and I realize how blessed we all are, so we work that much harder to broadcast a fun telethon that raises a large amount for those families in our viewing area who are less fortunate.”

And WRAL viewers show their compassion by donating to help the needy children of the Triangle.

 Coats for the Children“When our anchors share the need, our viewers respond,” said Parish.  “They are always very generous.  We thank them for helping us make it a warmer winter for hundreds of Salvation Army families.”

Fifty-two volunteers helped sort the coats at a Raleigh warehouse on the cold winter morning.  Individuals from Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the Raleigh Graduate Chapter of Swing Psi Swing SFI, and Carolina Young Adults worked alongside WRAL-TV and Salvation Army staffers.

“The work that goes into Coats for the Children is so very meaningful and worthwhile for WRAL,” said Hammel.  “It is our way of continuing to be connected with the great community that we serve. “  


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