WSAW-TV’s annual Share Your Holidays campaign raised $149,063 and thousands of pounds of non-perishable food during its 20th year. One hundred percent of the money is split between the Wausau Salvation Army and The Neighbors’ Place. Food that was donated will go to Peyton’s Promise for distribution to multiple food pantries.
“Even 20 years into this effort, the outpouring of support is always overwhelming,” said Jeff Thelen, WSAW anchor and campaign coordinator. “I’d love nothing more than to say the need no longer exists and we can bring Share Your Holidays to a close, but as long as the need is there, we’ll keep trying to help.”
Share Your Holidays has now raised $1,322,742 since its inception 20 years ago. Studies show that every dollar donated to a food pantry buys three or four meals.
“This community has just really pulled together of us throughout the pandemic and beyond,” said Donna Ambrose, Neighbors’ Place Executive Director.
Major David Womack, Commanding Officer, Salvation Army said, “Every once and a while we just need that extra to get us through, and to get us moving positively into the next year. Share Your Holidays goes a long way into making sure that happens.”
Thanks to matching grants, every dollar donated up to $76,000 was doubled. The BA and Esther Greenheck Foundation, The MacDonald Foundation, The Miller-Halverson Family, the Dudley Foundation, JX Truck Center, and IncredibleBank all provided matching grants.
“We are always amazed at the generosity of our viewers and businesses,” said Al Lancaster, WSAW-TV VP/General Manager. “With the need greater than ever, it is heartwarming to be able to help so many.”
The 2022 Share Your Holidays campaign began on Nov. 23 and concluded on Dec. 30. Viewers were encouraged to donate money online. Donors could also drop off food or money at WSAW-TV or at IncredibleBank locations in the Wausau area.
With zero overhead cost, a significant portion of Share Your Holidays continued success can be attributed to its sponsors: IncredibleBank, JX Truck Center, and Wagner Shell. WSAW-TV staff also play a large role, donating its time and resources to help support the campaign.
For the first time post-pandemic, WSAW-TV staff and sponsors participated in several events aimed at driving donations. On Dec. 2, staff walked along the Wausau Holiday Parade, collecting hundreds of pounds of non-perishable food and monetary donations. On Dec. 16, more than $1,800 was raised as station staff pumped gas at Wausau and Weston Wagner Shell locations in exchange for donations during the “Celebrity Gas Pump”. Then, on Dec. 21, IncredibleBank staff worked the phone lines during a two-and-a-half hour phone bank, raising just more than $11,000.
“It was so great to return to our traditional Share Your Holiday events, which allow all our news, weather and sports departments to be involved,” said Bridget Fargen, WSAW-TV News Director. “For some it was their first time taking part in the Wausau Holiday Parade and the Celebrity Gas Pump. It’s great to see our staff come together to help people in the community.”