• WHAT: 34th annual Manteca-Lathrop Boys & Girls Club Telethon
• WHEN: Tonight from 5 to 10:30 p.m.
• WHERE: Boys & Girls Club, 545 Alameda St., Manteca, and live on Comcast Cable Channel 97
• PURPOSE: To raise funds to support year-round programs for 1,500 kids
Tiffany Garland scanned the phone list and looked for people that she thought might be willing to make donations.
And then she dialed.
Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.
No answer. It was that kind of night for her on the phone bank at the 34th annual Boys and Girls Club Telethon. Garland walked in with 11-year-old friend Kayla Nettleton and together they hoped to do their part in raising money for an organization that they know means a lot for youth in the community – despite neither of them ever attending regularly.
“I just like helping out,” said Nettleton, the phone still in her hand. “I know that this is a fun place and it’s a good place and I’m just glad to be here doing my part.”
With the exception of some early technical difficulties, things on the opening night of the club’s main fundraiser – which last year pulled in more than $100,000 to help provide programming for the 1,500 youth that call the club home – went according to plan.
Large groups from Calvary Community Church manned the phone bank for the last block of time the night had allotted. The telethon’s opening night ended Monday at 9 p.m. with $12,192 raised. The telethon concludes tonight on Comcast Channel 97. Broadcast times are 5 to 10:30 p.m. with people also able to watch the telethon that features auctions and entertainment in person at the Boys & Girls Club, 545 W. Alameda St. The second night is historically when the majority of the fundraising occurs.
For staffers like Kimberly Baldovino, the night represents the end of months of pre-planning and the chance to see all of that work come to fruition in the name of the kids.
“I start sending requests out to companies and business in August to see if we have their support, and it takes a lot of work in the months that lead up to the telethon,” said Baldovino, who works as an executive assistant and heads-up early telethon issues for executive director Jeanie Miller. “And that’s on top of everything else that I have to do, like payroll and accounting. But it’s the biggest event of the year and I’ve been doing it for 10 years now so I’ve gotten pretty good about handling it.”
More than a hundred live auction items will be available tonight for those watching on Comcast Channel 97 to call up and bid on. Items range from trips to ski areas and resorts around the North Shore of Lake Tahoe to autographed sports memorabilia from greats such as Willie Mays and Kenny Stabler. There is also a private party comedy show being offered by Manteca comedian Chris Teicheria as well as a chance to have a new street in Manteca named after you or someone you love.
Anyone bidding on a silent auction item physically have to drop by the club prior to 9:30 p.m.
“This has been going on for such a long time and it’s an event that is very much a part of this town,” Julie Chenowith said. “I come down every year, and there might even be a few things that I walk away with this year.”
Altogether, more than 300 volunteers help stage the telethon by doing everything from manning the phone banks to providing entertainment.