JOLIET – When it comes to the annual Celebration of Giving Regional Telethon, Deb Strahanoski thinks it could hold its own with any national one you might have seen.
The yearly event, scheduled for Saturday, is the major fundraiser for Easter Seals Joliet Region. Strahanoski, development manager at Easter Seals, said the 12-hour telethon will be televised live on Comcast Channel 6 and will live stream at www.joliet.easterseals.com.
Between the 1,000 or so volunteers who pitch in, the local talent – from bands to dancers to hosts – and the families who receive services from the agency providing testimonials, Strahanoski said it is an event that Easter Seals looks forward to every year.
"It’s an event we just love, and we love that it is a day that people can sit back and enjoy," she said. "And we thank the community from the bottom of our hearts."
The show is split between two cities: From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., it will be at the Kankakee Valley Park District Rec Center in Kankakee; and from 1 to 9 p.m., it will be at the Jacob Henry Mansion in Joliet.
Strahanoski said the event has been going on for more than two decades, and during that time it has raised more than $1 million for Easter Seals. The agency serves Ford, Grundy, Kankakee, Kendall, Iroquois and Will counties. Easter Seals helps people with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives.
It takes about six months to pull together the event, she said. Between performances by local groups and bands, hosts ask those tuning in to call in, and volunteers manning phone banks record donations.
The goal is to raise $180,000 this year, Strahanoski said.
"We are feeling really good that we will – fingers crossed, of course – that we will exceed that," she said.
"We appreciate every dollar we get," Strahanoski said. "We are so grateful for people coming together and embracing our event to help us raise as much money as possible for all of our programs and services in our region."
The Celebration of Giving Regional Telethon will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Watch live on Comcast Channel 6 or online at www.joliet.easterseals.com. To make a donation the day of, call 815-927-5450.