WGAL ‘Coats For Kids’ Telethon Raises $229,000

Hearst-owned NBC affiliate WGAL Lancaster, Pa. (DMA 43), “Coats for Kids” coat drive and telethon concluded over the weekend, with $229,000 being collected.

This was the 25th annual coat drive and the 18th year for the telethon, both conducted to benefit the Salvation Army branches throughout the Susquehanna Valley.  The exact number of coats donated to the Salvation Army at Pennsylvania and Delaware Cleaners Association locations is still being tabulated, but is expected to be in the thousands.

The telethon, originally scheduled for broadcast throughout the day on Friday, Dec. 14, was shortened significantly by the station’s live coverage of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.  From 12:30 to 4 p.m., WGAL preempted all regularly scheduled broadcasts, including the planned telethon segments, with live news coverage of the event.

An expanded edition of NBC Nightly News was broadcast from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., pre-empting the first half of WGAL’s planned 7-8 p.m. “Coats for Kids Telethon.” The telethon, sponsored by WGAL and Your Family Owned Markets, was still able to raise the $229,000 in pledges from viewers and area businesses, benefitting the Salvation Army.

“On a day marked by much sadness and grief it was gratifying to witness how the good people of the Susquehanna Valley once again responded so generously to the needs of their neighbors,” said John Humphries, WGAL president and general manager.

“The abbreviated Telethon segment from 7:30 to 8 p.m. was a frenzy of activity,” commented Major Bryan Smith of the Salvation Army. “WGAL 8’s viewers never let the phones stop ringing … even after the telethon went off the air at 8 p.m. And the businesses in the station’s  viewing area kept presenting one check after another to the Salvation Army. It was heartwarming witnessing the outpouring of support as a result of the telethon on WGAL.”


The Coats For Kids Drive and Telethon benefits Salvation Army branches in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, York, Carlisle and Reading. 

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