It all started in 1949 on the streets of Sudbury. "Members of the Sudbury Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartets" (I didn't make that up) pitched in to help the Salvation Army fill their "Cheer Pots". They entertained in front of four collection stands singing Christmas carols outdoors in downtown Sudbury. The objective was to raise $500. In 1951 there were 300 children being helped by the Barbershoppers Christmas Toy Drive. The original idea grew to stage and radio shows and by 1951, The Barbershoppers Christmas Toy Drive had become a Christmas Institution.
In 1952, the 1st ALL STAR PROGRAM of local talent was held at the Capitol Theatre. Over 1000 toys were donated that year. CHNO radio was the 1st to broadcast the talent show.
1953 would be the pivotal year. It looked like the Barbershoppers would fall short and wouldn't quite make their goal. There were 300 families and about 1500 Children who needed help. Wilf Woodill and the newly Christened CKSO Television stepped in with a 5 hour Volunteer talent show. They collected $2000. that evening, exceeding the goal of $1500. To paraphrase original Barbershopper Ernie Savard, ”We could raise more money in 1 night on television than you could during an exhaustive 6 weeks of fundraising on the street.” It was a natural progression to television and the annual Christmas Telethon was born.
On December 5th, 1998, MCTV - CTV staged a Celebration of 50 years of Caring for the Kid’s at Christmas with a production unparalleled in small market television. Businesses gave, children canvassed and carolled door to door and record $211,000.00 (Sudbury) was pledged in 9 glorious hours of live “home town” television.
Notes of Interest:
*$230,000. Was raised in 1999.
*$26,000. Was raised alone in 1999 in the “wish bowl” area