Sudbury residents sang, danced and entertained the crowd while volunteers operated a phone bank, all for the cause of raising money to help neighbors who find themselves in a tough spot with bills they can’t pay due to unemployment, underemployment or just the ever-rising costs of running a household in 2012.
It was the 11th HOPEsudbury Telethon and Auction on Saturday at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, which began in 2001 by residents who were looking for a way to unite and support the community after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. HOPEsudbury co-President Marilyn Martino said the organization assisted 10 or 12 families that year, a number which grew to 69 last year.
“It’s going fantastic so far,” Martino said at 6 p.m. on Saturday, more than halfway through the event, which was held from noon to 10 p.m. “We just had all six phones ringing at once. It’s so exciting when that happens.”
About 150 people helped with the event. Martino said that number includes event officials who begin planning the telethon months in advance and volunteers who assist only on the day of the event.
This year's HOPEsudbury Telethon and Auction raised just less than $70,000, which officials said will go a long way toward assisting Sudbury residents in need.
The organization can help with small grants of up to $500 once per year for individuals and up to $1,000 once per year for families, to help them cover mortgages, dental bills and household costs when their incomes run short.
“Perhaps they only have one car, and it needs a repair, or else they won’t be able to get to work,” Martino offered as an example.
"It’s very flexible. It’s about listening to people’s needs.”
She said this year’s auction included a dynamic range of sports and theater tickets, special experiences, artwork, beauty products and certificates, fitness classes, gift baskets and offerings from local businesses.