For Debbie VanSickle and Monique Sobey, Christmas doesn’t truly start until the annual Pictou County Christmas Fund telethon is held.
This year's telethon will be held Sunday, Nov. 26, at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre. The show, as in previous years, runs 1-7 p.m. and is broadcast live on East Coast FM radio station as well as on Eastlink TV. The deCoste is open to anyone who wants to come and see the performances live, and viewers are also able to make a pledge at the same time.
The two are both longtime volunteers for the event, which raises money to provide a Christmas dinner to those who might not otherwise be able to afford one. Last year the effort helped nearly 3,000 people. VanSickle, who has volunteered with the fundraiser for 21 years, is chair of the event this year and Sobey, who has been involved for 12 years, will be chairing it next year.
Because I’ve been doing it for 12 years, it’s now the start of my Christmas,” Sobey said. “Then I can decorate my house and start Christmas shopping.”
VanSickle said when she sits down to Christmas dinner, it bothers her to think someone else could be going without, which is why she personally believes this is so important.
But with local performers and school choirs taking part, she said it’s also a great way for the community to come together.
She said the kids who take part particularly enjoy it.
“They realize they’re doing it to help others,” she said.
For her personally, it’s exciting to be part of the activity the day of the telethon.
“I really enjoy the most finding out what the total is and giving out the money to people,” she said.
“It’s fun the energy and excitement the day of, of ‘Oh, we’re halfway there” and “Uh oh we’re still only halfway there.”
But Pictou County residents always seem to come through. Once again the goal this year is to raise $80,000.
While people can listen and watch at home, Sobey encourages those who can to stop by the deCoste.
“The performances are all live so people should come down to the deCoste Centre to watch,” she said. “It’s going to be really cool.”
People can stop by the deCoste or phone in their pledges, which can be honoured at any bank, credit union, The News, ECFM front desk and the Pictou Advocate.