After 30 years, Connellsville brought back the city's former fundraising telethon.
On Saturday, the Heart to Hope Telethon hit the airwaves live from Connellsville Area High School. Benefiting Connellsville Area Community Ministries (CACM), the telethon was broadcast live on Armstrong Cable and LHTC and live streamed on the web via CACM’s website, Facebook and YouTube.
The Rev. Bob Lubic served as the telethon’s master of ceremonies and ahead of the show promised his outfit would be a show stopper. He didn’t disappoint. Sporting a vintage smoking jacket of red and black picked from an antique shop, Lubic kicked off the show by introducing the anchors for the day: Mary Sampey, who works with Lubic at Our Lady, Queen of the Yough Catholic Communities; Jackie Shopes from Armstrong Cable and host of the show “Challenge Accepted; Bruce Jaynes, director of the Connellsville Area Career & Technical Center and Kevin Ghost, technology director of the Connellsville Area School District.
Ghost, who also sat on the event’s steering committee, said the telethon was the perfect melding of the community, the school district and other partners. He touted the fact that the site of the broadcast was selected because of the school district’s fiber optic connections, but said it also provided an opportunity for students to show off their talents.
“We have some of our students running the cameras. We are able to show off not only the advanced technology of our school district, but our students,” said Ghost.
In addition, several CASD students performed on the show and CACTC students constructed key elements of the show’s set.
Jaynes, who had a unique connection to the previous telethons because his father Ken Jaynes was involved in them, said he sees a bright future for this revamped event. He added that it’s “going to be around longer than I am.”
Telethon organizers encouraged members of the community to head down to the live broadcast to dump their donations into the “fish tank” and a few larger donations even made it on the air, including a $500 check donated by Connellsville Area Custodial and Janitorial Staff raised by holding a collection, and $1,005 by the school’s teachers and support staff, who held a Wear Jeans for a Week fundraiser where faculty and support personnel could pay $5 and wear jeans every day that week.
In addition, a basket raffle was held for individuals who came down to see the telethon in person, which included movie, kids and aromatherapy baskets, along with high-end prizes, like a 32-inch LED television, autographed Bill Mazeroski and Phil Kessel jerseys. Anyone who donated $100 or more was entered in the drawing for the high-end prizes, while anyone who made a donation of any amount was entered into the drawing for the baskets.
Food and refreshments were also available in a volunteer-run concession area. The concessions offered pizza from eight area pizzerias – Little Caesar’s, Bud Murphy’s, Pizza King, Pappy’s Pizza, Fox’s Pizza, New York Pizza, Domino’s and Keedy’s Pizza – along with other food items, such as hot dogs, kielbasa, ham BBQ, chocolate-covered pretzel sticks, Dilly Bars, snacks and drinks.
Food for the concessions were donated or provided by sponsors, including Colebrook Candy, Dairy Queen, Martin’s, Farsi Distributing, Vona’s, Cash Saver, and Galliker’s Dairy.
In addition, other sponsors included Armstrong Cable, LHTC, and Somerset Bank, who handled the calculating of the donations. Although exact figures weren’t available yet, Community Ministries had set a goal of $50,000.