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We Care telethon, Trim-a-Tree Festival canceled

Board considers online auction to replace telethon this year

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The holiday season will look a little different this year, as We Care announced the cancellation of two longstanding fund raisers, the 28th annual Trim-a-Tree Festival and the 48th annual telethon. 

This morning on WWKI, We Care Board Member Mariesa Skogland said the decision to cancel the events came down to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Skogland read the following statement: 

"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a large reduction in the number of participants calling for tree and wreath reservations, and even with the cutbacks of 60 trees and wreaths we put in place to make it a safer environment, we do not even have close to this number. We believe it's because the COVID-19 has influenced businesses and personal budgets and income and the unforeseeable future of the virus on businesses and households.

" ... We do not make these decisions lightly, and many meetings have been taking place. And we had hoped and prayed the situation would have gotten better, and the restrictions would have been lifted; however, the risk involved in transmitting the virus with the number of volunteers it takes to hold the We Care fund raisers within the confined spaces that we work within was too great." 

Despite the cancelation of the events, Skogland said the six nonprofits that benefit from We Care still will receive "100 percent of their annual distribution" on Wednesday, Dec. 16. 

Last year, We Care donated $415,000 to the nonprofits. Receiving $105,000 each were Kokomo Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, and Goodfellows, while $10,000 went to Mental Health America, $85,000 to Bona Vista, and $5,000 to Kokomo Urban Outreach.

Looking ahead, Skogland said the board still is hoping to have "some kind of a We Care season." An online auction has been considered. As decisions are made, Skogland said the board will keep the community updated via WWKI and the We Care Facebook page.