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Final tally: Telethon raises $94,306
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• WHAT: Evening social honoring Manteca Hall of Fame members and fans of the Boys & Girls Club
• WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m.
• WHERE: Boys & Girls Club, 545 W. Alameda
• MORE INFO: Call 239-KIDS

The Manteca/Lathrop Boys & Girls Club Telethon raised $94,306.

The final total was significantly higher than the $73,635 posted at the end of the two-day event last week. The pledges and money were in hand Tuesday but accounting wasn’t complete when the telethon coverage ended on Comcast Channel 97.

“We’re grateful that people in the community are supporting the kids,” said Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Charlie Halford on Tuesday.

The amount raised was just under seven percent less than the 2008 telethon that raised $101,781. Halford noted that while the club was targeting $120,000, the drop in telethon donations was less than they had anticipated considering many non-profits have been hit with drop-off in support running from 10 to 30 percent what their proceeds were from the same events in 2008.

The telethon is the major fundraiser for the club that generates more than half of its operating budget from community donations.

Club attendance is up significantly this year as struggling families have been forced to drop childcare to cope with tighter times. Altogether, the two club sites that include one at the Lathrop School campus has over 1,700 members.

The fairly strong telethon will help the club continue to underwrite programs.

The club has left vacancies on staff plus cut expenses where possible to make sure there is adequate funding to provide direct services to kids. Halford, as an example, is only taking half of his salary as executive director so that the club can continue to meet a growing demand for its services at a time when the economy is weak.

The club offers homework assistance, computers for doing school work, and various character building programs. It also offers a variety of recreation games, sports leagues, arts classes, or simply a safe place to spend time with friends.

The club just doubled their membership fee to $24 – the first jump in more than 14 years.

The Boys & Girls Club offers a year’s worth of karate lessons, play in flag football and basketball leagues, have a safe place to hang out after school until as late as 8 p.m. with friends, play and do your homework for one monthly fee that is kept as low as possible to make sure the kids who need a safe haven can afford it.

The $24 fee also includes Boys &Girls Club T-shirt. There is a break for families that have more than two children that would cost $48. After that, each additional child is $12 a year.