By Carla Brown, Red Cross Volunteer, Stockton
On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in the wake of the devastating tornado that roared through Moore, Oklahoma, the American Red Cross Capital Region Chapter partnered with KCRA 3 Sacramento to host a fundraising telethon to support the disaster relief efforts. Volunteers from the Red Cross and several local organizations – PG & E, Grainger, Vision Service Plan, Servpro, Cal EMA, and more – answered calls from viewers looking to get involved and help Oklahomans get back on their feet. And for 14 hours – from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm – the phone calls and donations poured in.
The generosity of the Capital Region came through in a big way, in the end raising more than $367,000 to help the families in Oklahoma.
Throughout the day callers pledged whatever they could spare, some even challenging other viewers to do the same. Great Grandmothers challenging each other, businesses matching the donations of their employees, children studying tornadoes in school who gave, and even one young man that broke open his piggy bank to give $6 – the stories and compassion on display were amazing and inspiring.
In addition to the donations, there cannot be enough said of the tireless staff and volunteers who worked diligently to help make the event a success. The KCRA News Team worked around the clock, making appeals to viewers and making the phone volume soar. Using Facebook and Twitter, volunteers rallied friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to contribute and spread the word.
As the evening’s final broadcast aired and the phones calmed, the day’s final tally brought looks of astonishment and joy. Nearly 16 hours since the start, with the enormity of the event beginning to sink in, the exhaustion surely being felt by all was hidden by the smiles spread across the faces of all remaining in Studio B.
And then, a major sigh of relief. We had done it. We helped to provide comfort and hope to those in need larger and faster than ever before. There’s is immense pride in such a job well done, and hardly the words to express the thanks and gratitude for the generosity of our Capital Region to make this happen.