Fox Chapel Area telethon raises money, hope for residents in need

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 8:58 p.m.

“Build Me Up” was the theme for this year's Fox Chapel Area High School's telethon, and the students built up a big pile of donations during the two-hour fundraiser on Dec. 20.

The 2012 telethon raised $35,700 during the show, which ran during the high school lunches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As usual, students took the chance to appear live on camera and add their money.

Community members stopped by with their donations, too.

Amidst the impromptu segments were live visits to Kerr, Hartwood, Fairview, and O'Hara elementary schools, as well as Dorseyville Middle School, all of which sponsored their own fundraisers for Habitat for Humanity.

Also, school groups — such as the band, orchestra, and choir — showcased students' talents in prerecorded segments.

Plenty of time was put into organizing the event before the telethon began.

Proceeds from the event will be directed locally to projects that will help prepare residents' homes for winter weather. Money will also be donated to “A Brush with Kindness,” which is a Habitat for Humanity program that aims to clean up the exterior of houses with paint, landscaping and minor repairs.

“Habitat for Humanity works with families and people from the area. That's what makes it pretty crucial for our community,” said Hannah Gross, the student producer of this year's telethon.

The Sharpsburg native said Habitat's work in the Greater Pittsburgh Area helps people who are working to help themselves.

Additionally, the fundraiser allowed donors to direct funds toward helping victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Habitat's executive director, Maggie Withrow, appeared on the telethon, too.

This is the third year Fox Chapel Area supported Habitat for Humanity.

“I think Habitat is a remarkable program,” Hannah said.

Besides donating money raised through the telethon, some local students have personally given to Habitat for Humanity by volunteering time to work at sites along with the homeowners.

Fox Chapel Area students have produced a telethon for 23 years, raising $540,000 for a variety of causes.

The telethons are organized by marketing and management classes and students working in the television production studio.

Sharon Drake is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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