Meeting Street telethon brings in $1.2 million
With the help of three Dartmouth co-hosts, the 42nd annual Meeting Street Telethon brought in more than $1.23 million to support the non-profit's campuses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The four-hour telethon was broadcast live on January 27 from Meeting Street’s Providence, RI headquarters and Dartmouth’s Schwartz Center for Children.
The annual event is invaluable for funding Meeting Street’s programming, which includes early intervention, early childhood, and physical therapy and rehabilitation services for children and teens with special needs, explained Chief Operating Officer Amanda McMullen.
“Each year we raise well over half of our annual fund,” McMullen said.
The Schwartz Center, located off of Old Westport Road, includes outpatient rehabilitation programming and a year-round school, serving more than 1,000 people. Recent expansions include a center in New Bedford and special support programs for teen parents on the South Coast.
Meeting Street services are in such high demand in this area that McMullen noted wait lists are common.
“We can’t keep up with the needs here, to be honest,” McMullen said.
At the center of Dartmouth’s broadcast were three young volunteers, including Dartmouth resident Brayden Garcia, 4, who receives services from the Schwartz Center.
During his appearances, he showed hosts Steve Nielsen and Caroline Goggin his “dabbing” (a popular dance move) and was full of smiles.
“He’s loving the attention and he’s smiling a lot,” said his father, Benjamin Garcia. “When he was getting dressed earlier he was all smiles. He’s having so much fun.”
Garcia said he hopes the appearance will help spread the word about all the services Meeting Street offers right in Dartmouth.
Brayden Garcia was joined by fellow Dartmouth resident Bryce Clancy. On January 26, Clancy served as host of the pre-telethon FUN 107 radiothon. His mission heading into the radiothon was to raise more than the $2,800 he brought in last year. And he flew by that number, bringing in a total of $10,310.
Taunton resident Mary MacDonald rounded out the lineup at the Schwartz Center, where the eight-year-old receives life-changing rehabilitation services to help her walk.
“I really like that I can do stuff I couldn’t do before,” MacDonald said.
The annual telethon was “rebooted” 16 years ago through a collaboration with Meeting Street, WPRI, and Cardi’s Furniture.
Last year -- the second year the telethon has included a live broadcast from the Schwartz Center -- $1.1 million was raised. For more information about Meeting Street, visit meetingstreet.org.