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Sluggish economy deters telethon donors

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By John Friedlein

By JOHN FRIEDLEIN

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jfriedlein@thenewsenterprise.com

HARDIN COUNTY — The sluggish economy apparently took a toll on one of this area's biggest charity fundraisers.

The Helping to Give Hope Telethon — which annually raises money for Helping Hand of the Heartland in Elizabethtown and North Hardin HOPE in Radcliff — took in about half the funds it usually does.

Helping Hand director Henry White, who on Wednesday didn't know exactly how much the Tuesday night telethon collected, guessed the total would be around $28,000. Last year, Helping Hand alone took in about $34,000 from the event.

The money goes toward expenses like rent, medicine and utility bills. So considering the increased expense of groceries, utility bills and, of course, gasoline, the donation drop comes at a bad time.

Like those looking for help, those who give are also feeling an economic pinch, said White. He saw a similar donation drop during the economic downturn six or seven years ago.

While current cost-of-living increases strain the middle class, those living in poverty have it 10 times worse, HOPE director Priscilla Riddell-Terwilliger said.

The telethon, which was broadcast by Hardin County Educational Television and WIEL radio from Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, included videotaped testimonials of those who have received help.

Also, aid workers conveyed “from the heart” their experiences, Riddell-Terwilliger said. Things like telling somebody there isn't enough money to help pay a high utility bill have kept her up at night.

And every year the needs get a little greater, she said.

The telethon was not all gloom. The musical performances — which included piano and vocal pieces — were “awesome,” Riddell-Terwilliger said.

“We just had a great time.”

TO DONATE

The telethon is over, but it's not too late to donate

For more information call:

Helping Hand of the Heartland - 769-3092 (Elizabethtown)

North Hardin HOPE - 351-4673 (Radcliff)

John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746.