A dozen nonprofits unite for #HunterdonStrong COVID telethon
Thursday night, local talent from around Hunterdon County will support 11 area nonprofit organizations, plus volunteer EMS first responders, in a live-streamed telethon that will highlight the mission of each nonprofit, and hopefully raise money for all of them.
The group of organizations was brought together by the Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation, for which the mission is usually to fundraise on behalf of Hunterdon Healthcare System.
But Phil Beekman, Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation senior vice president, said in this case, the proceeds from residents' donations will be split equally among all 12 organizations involved.
"Throughout the two-hour event, you are going to get a three-minute video that is going to talk about every single nonprofit," Beekman said. "It's about supporting the community, by the community, from our community, and that is what we think will be really exciting."
Beekman said his experience with organizing virtual events goes back to the 2009 recession, and based on that, he might have expected 30% turnout for something that was moved online — 150 virtual attendees, for example, for a gala that would have had 500 guests in person.
However, the hope is that viewership for the telethon will be high because of the reach and breadth of the organizations involved, including the Flemington Area Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, the United Way of Hunterdon County, and the Hunterdon County YMCA.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unique challenges for all of these groups, Beekman said, even as demand for their services increases.
"Together, we pretty much provide services to our entire community," he said. "All 140,000 or so lives in Hunterdon County, at some point or another, will take advantage of one of our services, be it the hospital, EMS, or some of the other nonprofits."
For those county residents, Beekman reminds them that it's not just the homeless who are in obvious need of help during this time; it might be a neighbor who's lost a job and can't pound the pavement because so many offices remain shut down or limited, and any donation made will eventually see its way back to efforts to help these people.
Part of the incentive of the event is a 50/50 raffle with a grand prize now in the neighborhood of $45,000, which will be awarded on the livestream.
Former Spin Doctors guitarist Anthony Krizan, now a Hunterdon County resident, is among the musicians slated to participate.
The telethon kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday. It will be streamed via YouTube Live, accessible over the internet or through a phone or smart TV app, on the Hunterdon Healthcare Channel.
For the direct link, or to donate, go to hunterdonstrong.org.