Two Wausau TV stations raised more than $100,000 to break a record in its annual Share Your Holidays campaign.
WSAW NewsChannel 7 and FOX WZAW gathered donations from viewers and matching grants to support the Salvation Army of Wausau and The Neighbors’ Place. The previous record of $95,811.49 was set in 2017. Share Your Holidays has now raised more than $715,000 since its inception.
In addition to monetary donations, viewers also donated thousands of pounds of non-perishable food. The food donations will be distributed to dozens of food pantries in Marathon County, thanks to Peyton’s Promise.
“The kindness and generosity of the people who live here never fails to amaze me,” said Jeff Thelen, WSAW anchor and campaign coordinator. “When I think of all the food we’ve helped put on the tables of people who otherwise may go hungry it’s almost overwhelming.”
The campaign came to a close with a half-hour special on WSAW. The special revealed the food insecurities and needs facing area families and also shared more about the history of “Share Your Holiday” which was founded 16 years ago by WSAW-TV staff. The special also capped off a three hour phone bank where viewers could call in donations. The phone bank raised more than $6,100
The Share Your Holidays campaign kicked off on Nov. 30 as staff members walked in the Wausau Holiday Parade collecting non-perishable food and monetary donations. Two weeks later, more than $2,700 was raised as staff members pumped gas in exchange for monetary donations at a Celebrity Gas Pump.
“Share Your Holidays isn’t just something we do here at NewsChannel 7, it’s something we’re passionate about,” WSAW/WZAW News Director Sarah Gray said. “Year after year, our team is so proud to head up this effort in the community, to do our small part to improve it. We’re so thankful that our community joins us in that effort, with their generosity.”
“The community response to our Share Your Holidays fundraiser is very humbling, “WSAW/WZAW VP/GM Al Lancaster said. “We are very blessed to live in such a special place. Thank you!”
The Share Your Holidays account will remain open for additional donations until Jan. 31.