It was just before Christmas in 1973. Increasing oil prices of the time had sparked an economic downturn greatly affecting the big three automakers. People were losing hope.
“How will I give my family a happy holiday season?” was the call from a local longtime laid-off autoworker.
WWKI disc jockey, Dick Bronson, answered the call during his one hour call-in radio program, Viewpoint. This call wasn’t just about gifts. It was about family and food and meeting needs to get through the holiday season. Bronson opened up his own wallet and offered to give half of its contents, which was $20.00, to the caller. Bronson then encouraged listeners to do the same. And they did. Donations totaled over $1,000 and included toys, food and clothes. This spontaneous effort impacted more than just the caller as other families were helped as well. The tradition that is We Care began, and WWKI simulcast the first telethon two years later.
This year marks the 45th Annual We Care Telethon. From December 1st to December 3rd, over 700 volunteers will come together for the event. There will be nearly 4,000 items donated on which viewers and listeners may bid. With 100% of all funds donated to organizations, needs are met not just during the holiday season but all year long.
Let’s think about this for a moment, the good-will of ONE PERSON evolved into a 45 year tradition bringing over TWENTY THOUSAND VOLUNTEERS together for the good of the community and those in need. Wow! And that’s not even including other events like Trim-A-Tree, We Care Park and the We Care Concert. We have a caring and generous community, and that should always give us hope!
A History of Hope
Originally created in 1965 by third largest toy maker in the world, Hasbro, Inc., “Little Miss No Name” hit the shelves of stores. She wasn’t a big seller. Sadly for most, it was too easy to disregard this doll with no name, hand outreached and big eyes seeking care and comfort. But not for the volunteers of We Care. They saw Hope.
Found amidst bags and boxed of donations, We Care volunteers were affected by the doll and named her Hope. She was the final auction piece in the December 1986 telethon, and unexpectedly the Hope doll returned the following year to be adopted again. Returning each year since then, Hope has raised over half a million dollars. Year after year the doll brings in more than money; she continues to bring hope to us all.
We are so proud and thankful to live and work in this community! It really is all about helping each other; and whether it be with your time, talents or treasures, we are so blessed to join with you each year and give back! For more information or to see how you can volunteer for these events and more, visit We Care.