Over the top — again

They did it again: The 43rd annual Pictou County Christmas Fund telethon went over the top!

Volunteers succeeded in raising $85,240 — that’s more than the $80,000 goal — thanks to the generous support of the community.

Every year, the funds are raised in the community, for the community — to help provide a Christmas dinner for those who may be struggling a bit at Christmas.

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“The people of Pictou County have always come through to help other people in the community who need a little help at Christmas,” lauded Debbie VanSickle, telethon chairperson.

This year, the committee needed all of the extra help it could get.

Camille LeParque, food bank liaison and past co-chair noted, “We have 166 more families registered this year compared to last year — up about 14 per cent.”

In 2016, almost 3,000 people were helped in 1,166 families. This year there will be more.

Disbursement dates for residents in the Pictou East area are December 13 and 14 at Summer Street Industries in New Glasgow from 1 to 4 p.m. and December 13 in Pictou at First Presbyterian Church, also 1-4 p.m.

“In the 10 years I have been involved we have seen an increase (in need) just about every year,” LeParque said. “For a few years we had sort of levelled off — that’s why the financial goal remained the same as last year – but this year there is an increase in new users.”

Organizers expect that more than the amount pledged will be realized, as it is usually every year.

“Last year we had $82,000 pledged and $87,000 came in.”

Pledges can be honoured at any bank or Credit Union in the county, as well as ECFM and the Pictou Advocate office.

VanSickle encouraged those who pledged to honour their pledges as soon as possible so volunteers can make sure the families registered have the best chance at providing for their families for the holiday. Those who honour their pledges by Friday will have their names go into a draw for a number of early bird prizes. All of the money raised in Sunday’s telethon stays right here in Pictou County.

Many performers took to the stage on Sunday to entertain the audience at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre and viewers of Eastlink Television and listeners of East Coast FM at home during the broadcast from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“It’s really important that ledges be honoured before the disbursement dates so we can help ensure every family registered is able to provide a Christmas dinner for their family,” VanSickle encouraged.

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Jackie is a Pictou County native and proud graduate of St. Francis Xavier University. She is a writer, editor and fledgling home cook. She has been in the newspaper business for almost three decades and jokes that she started when she was in her teens! She enjoys traveling, socializing and volunteering in her community.