The final total of $125,248, couldn’t be more perfect for WRAL-TV’s 25th Annual Coats for the Children Telethon. The studio became the home for a volunteer phone bank and holiday cheer on Friday, December 13, 2013 for the daylong fundraising drive to keep Triangle children in need warm this winter.
WRAL-TV Director of Local Producation Phyllis Parish produced the 2013 event, which started during WRAL’s morning news program and continued with multiple half-hour specials, break-ins during all newscasts, and reminders during programming throughout the day. Parish shared her thoughts about the amazing day:
Producing telethons definitely requires a team! And I had the best team on my side! Everyone involved with our Coats for the Children project genuinely enjoys the Telethon, because we know we are helping struggling families right here in our own community. It’s our way of reaching out to help children and families who don’t have the basics…a coat, hat, gloves. When we work hard and produce compelling cut-ins and specials, our viewers respond. This year, our Coats for the Children Telethon goal was to raise $100,000 for the Salvation Army. We raised ninety thousand last year. In my heart, I knew we could raise $100,000 on this, our 25th year, and boy did we!
I’m thrilled and overwhelmed by our viewers’ compassion and generosity this year. People have asked me ‘what made the difference this year? How did we raise more on Friday, Dec. 13th, than any other Coats Telethon nights, the economy is better, but I think our viewers thought realized how thankful they are.
First, WRAL Corporate Producer Anita Normanly’s promos were excellent! She featured a diverse group of children ‘passing on’ a coat and sharing a new toy. The simple, yet profound message of helping others, told through beautiful children, set the perfect tone for our Coats campaign.
Also, the economy is better, so that certainly helped. I worked real hard to provide a wider variety of ‘thank you’ gifts throughout the day and those incentives enticed people to call in with larger donations.
Plus, we produced three live specials, instead of two, so that definitely helped increase our total.
But I think the main reason is this – our viewers felt the station’s genuine commitment for the community. When you hear WRAL Anchors Bill Leslie, Debra Morgan and Greg Fishel talk about nine thousand children in Wake County lacking basic things like a coat, it hits home. When Michelle Marsh, Gerald Owens, Jackie Hyland and Mike Maze ask our viewers to donate the ‘magic number’ of $100 to outfit a child for the winter, they respond.
From the start, when WRAL Anchor Brian Shrader kicked off our Coats Telethon Friday morning at 6am, there was a contagious energy in Studio A. The set looked festive and beautiful, thanks to WRAL Crew Chiefs Tim King, Stuart Todd and their crews. You felt the Christmas spirit and the joy of helping others as soon as you walked into Studio A. And that feeling was apparent for the next eighteen hours! As soon as a new shift of phone volunteers arrived, or new anchor hosts and check presenters came in…everyone who stepped into Studio A on Friday felt Coats for the Children “love!”
Thanks to all viewers who donated during WRAL-TV’s Coats for the Children Telethon.
It’s not too late to give! Drop off new coats at participating Jiffy Lube and First Citizens locations. Or go online to WRAL.com and search ‘Coats’ to contribute. Donations will be accepted through December 31st.