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BBBS telethon marks ninth year

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

No pledge is too small or too large for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Christmas 4 Kids telethon from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at James Motor Co.

"If 100 people call in a $10 pledge, we've raised $1,000," said Nancy Jeter, executive director of BBBS of Ellis County.

This is the ninth year for the fundraiser for local youth programs.

Besides current youngsters and their "Bigs," the first person matched by the local organization will appear on the telethon, Jeter said.

The public can watch the telethon on the big screen TV at James Motor, or tune in to Eagle Cable Channel 14 and Eagle Radio KHAZ 99.5 FM.

Jeter and Gary Shorman, Eagle president and CEO, are co-hosts.

He's a good sport, Jeter said of Shorman, who always meets the challenge to dress up in an outlandish costume. Besides donning a costume Jeter selects from the "Christmas closet" at the end of the telethon, Shorman wears the costume in the FrostFest parade.

This year, the goal is to raise $65,000.

"Every penny raised here stays here," Jeter said.

Last year, the fundraiser fell short of the goal, so Jeter is hoping to hit the target this year.

In addition to BBBS, some of the proceeds go to other local organizations that benefit kids. Groups performing also benefit from the proceeds.

To donate, visit www.christmas4kids.com, or call (785) 625-6672 before and after the telethon. During the telethon, call (785) 301-CARE (2273).

Local entertainment includes Crossroads, Ellis High School Streamliners, Fort Hays State University Dickens Carolers, Full Chord Press, Hays High School Chamber Singers, Heartland Community Theatre and the TMP Singers.

BBBS of Ellis County started in 2000, and 1,100 youngsters have been matched by the organization.

"Eleven hundred, that's a lot of kids," she said.

However, more are waiting to be matched. The waiting list is at 40, but it averages 75 children.

"Since last year's telethon, 106 kids have been matched," Jeter said. "(The telethon) gives us another year."

The organization receives no federal or state funds.

"We survive solely on fundraising, the community (donations), United Way and grants," Jeter said.

Fundraising is ongoing because grants come and go.

"It would break my heart if we had to close the door because of money," she said. "Not only would the kids suffer, but the entire community. We make a difference."

Children are going to find a role model, and "our job is to find them a good role model."

The website also lists this year's sponsors.