Shared Blessings Telethon, online auction set to return

Dec. 2—The Shared Blessings Telethon became such a hit in 2020 that it's coming back for 2021.

It's set to run at 6 p.m. nightly on Dec. 6-7, which is Monday and Tuesday. A related online auction is set to continue through Dec. 8.

Shared Blessings first hosted the 2020 online telethon after the charitable organization canceled its annual banquet due to COVID-19 concerns. It proved so successful organizers are enthused about holding it again.

"We've transitioned to this as a new, fresh idea," said Shared Blessings Executive Director Scott Walker. "Last year hundreds and hundreds watched it."

That proved helpful for nonprofit's fundraising endeavors and organizers are hoping to be even more successful this year.

"This is our big event to raise money for the kinds of things we do in 2022," Walker said.

Interspersed with the entertainment will be discussions, community roundtables and videos regarding Shared Blessings activities.

"This is an opportunity to come together over two nights and celebrate everything that's happened and everything that's going to happen," Walker said of the telethon.

It's based on a retro TV format. The idea is to provide a good time for viewers while also delivering the Shared Blessings message about the many activities the nonprofit organization conducts. Emcees include Walker, Joey Clark and Rachel Gronwald.

"It's got live comedy, entertainment, local singers, McAlester High School bands and dance clubs," Walker said. "We want to make it feel like an old-fashioned telethon."

Combined with the silent auction, it's Shared Blessings biggest fundraising event of the year.

"We will be trying to raise $50,000," Walker said.

Shared Blessings is a social services organization and ministry that offers a myriad of services and programs, including serving as a food and clothing distribution center from its offices at 1558 S. Main St. Other programs include offering student food outreach services to area schools and the annual Back to School Bash. Shared Blessings also oversees the Hope House of McAlester, a homeless shelter for women and children

While the event is called a telethon, it won't be telecast on traditional TV network, although it could be transferred to a TV screen if an individual has an electronic device with that capability.

Viewers can watch the Shared Blessings Telethon via YouTube or Facebook, Walker said, with the telethon including instructions on how to make donations.

Those wanting to make donations will not call into the studio. Walker said most donations are made online. When viewers watch The Shared Blessings Telethon via YouTube or Facebook, it will include instructions on how to make online donations through sharedblessings.tv.

"The majority of donations are online," Walker said. "We've also got sponsorships."

Walker said the biggest telethon sponsor this year is Kyle Spruce and the NewEra-Business Cloud Service. Other sponsors are also contributing.

Meanwhile the online auction items can currently be viewed by going to sharedblessings.tv. "It will have everything listed,"said Walker.

Just a few of the items for auction include signed shoes from current Los Angeles Laker Russell Westbrook, signed shoes from the Oklahoma City Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a McAlester Buffaloes helmet and jersey, a ton of deer corn from Big V Feeds, a guided fishing trip through D&K Guide Service, items from Spaceship Earth and Prairie Ale, along with a variety of other things open for bids.

"We've got one that we're calling the Big Event Package," Walker said.

It includes use of the Downtown 312 venue on Choctaw Avenue, a band featuring Josh Hass and the Pearl Snaps, Brett Cable and BeirKraft, and food from Angel's Diner — everything that's needed to hold a big party or event.

Online bids will be accepted for the Big Event Package and the other auction items through 5 p.m. on Dec. 8, said Walker.

Anyone whomisses the telethon but who still wants to make a donation can send it to Shared Blessings; P.O. Box 328, McAlester, OK; 74502. If it's for the telethon, be sure to note that on the check, Walker said. All donations made to Shared Blessings are tax deductible.

Walker and the other telethon organizers are hoping for an even larger telethon viewership this year.

"It has a retro look like an old-fashioned telethon," Walker said. "People will have a lot of fun."

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.