Bellingham Women of Today Broadcasts Annual TelethonDec 31, 2018 06:00AM ● By Amy Bartelloni
Shown (L-R): Santa, Bellingham Women of Today member Melonie Mancini, Telethon host Linda Trudeau, and BWOT members Sue Beattie and Dee Clark.
story & photo by Amy Bartelloni, Contributing Writer
The Santa’s Elves telethon, sponsored by the Bellingham Women of Today, has been a tradition in town going back at least thirty years. This year’s telethon was filmed on Tuesday, December 4th, at 7 pm, at the Access Bellingham Mendon Inc. (ABMI) Cable 8 studio.
Founded in 1985, the Bellingham Women of Today is a non-profit civic organization. According to their website, their purpose is “to contribute to the betterment of our community while providing leadership training and personal enrichment to our members.”
They’re open to men and women 18 and older; information can be found on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bellinghamwomenoftoday. Bellingham’s chapter is one of six MA chapters of the Women of Today, which boasts a membership of 1,880 in 13 states.
“The money and toys raised by the Telethon benefit families in need at Christmas,” Bellingham Women of Today Treasurer Dee Clark explained. This year, the organization paired with the St. Blaise food pantry’s Adopt-a-Family program to distribute the gifts and donations.
Community was a big focus of the evening. Many Cub Scouts of Pack 118 visited the set to sing Christmas carols and present their donations.
“I’m glad the other kids will get to have a nice Christmas,” ten-year-old Webelo Mason Alger said of his donation. “It makes me feel good.”
His brother, 9-year-old Bear Shane Alger, explained how he chose his donation: “I like playing with Play-Doh so I hope Santa can find another kid who likes it too. That would make me happy.”
In addition to auction items bid on by telephone throughout the evening, donations were accepted from local individuals and businesses. Host Linda Trudeau recognized Charlie’s Tire and Service, Bellingham Electric, Bellingham VFW Post 7272, Ostrander Insurance, Silver Hanger Cleaners, and the Bellingham Bulletin for their repeated donations over the years. Shopping local was a sentiment that Bellingham Bulletin owner and event co-host Pam Johnson spoke to the importance of.
“These are the businesses that support our community, and these are the businesses we need to support whenever we can,” Pam said, reminding the audience that the local businesses are the ones supporting local sports teams and donation drives, so sometimes it’s worth spending a little more to shop locally.
Bellingham Women of Today treasurer Dee Clark took the opportunity to present several Inspire Awards. “The Inspire Awards are given to individuals and organizations that support their local Women of Today chapters,” Dee explained. “Their support is paramount in the success of the chapter and makes our community a better place to live and work.” She thanked ABMI Cable 8, Daniel Burgess (husband of member Melonie Mancini), Ernie Pelletier of Friendly Neighborhood Comics, Garelick Farms, John Beattie (husband of member Suzanne Beattie), local Selectman and State Representative-elect Mike Soter, and long-time telethon host Linda Trudeau for their support over the years.
Bellingham Bulletin owner Pam Johnson (left) was on hand to help out as cohost; next to her is Sgt. Ed. Guzowski of the Bellingham Police Association, which makes a significant annual donation; Linda Trudeau, who hosts the telethon for the BWOT each year; and Bellingham Business Association President John Orthman.
Other guests included long-time telethon supporter Sgt. Ed Guzowski, who presented a check on behalf of the Bellingham Police Association. John Orthman, President of the Bellingham Business Association, presented a check on their behalf and took the time to reiterate the importance of community to the BBA, whose tagline is “building community through business.” They always welcome new members, and information about the BBA can be found online at bellinghambusinessassociation.org.
The event finished at 9 pm, with a thank-you from Linda Trudeau to the night’s many donors. Through their generosity, the telethon earned $2,726 to help local families at Christmas. The entire broadcast will be available online at the station’s archives at abmi8.org.