(Louisville, KY) - Communities in Kentucky and southern Indiana came together once again for the 66th Annual WHAS Crusade for Children to make life better for children with special needs.
The final tote board tallied $5,690,000 as America’s most successful local telethon came to a close. That tops the 2018 total by $15,000.
The 30-hour Internet/radio/telethon was highlighted by a variety show hosted by WHAS11’s Lisa Hutson and 840 WHAS Radio’s Terry Meiners on Saturday.
It concluded with a surprise donation from the Sam Swope Family Foundation to round the total up and Crusade volunteers crowding into WHAS-TV’s historic studio H singing the traditional "God Bless America" Sunday evening.
“Every year I continue to be amazed at the way this community comes together to help children with special needs. The WHAS Crusade for Children continues to be a great demonstration of caring and coming together for the greater purpose of helping children with special needs.
A huge thank you to all who gave, the firefighters who worked tirelessly to collect, and the dedicated volunteers that help every year. Every penny really makes a difference, and we are so grateful for the continued generosity of this community,” said WHAS Crusade for Children President & CEO Dawn Lee.
More than $185 million for the kids
In its first 66 years, the Crusade has raised more than $185 million for children with special needs. One hundred percent of all donations raised Crusade weekend are returned in the form of grants to agencies, schools and hospitals that make life better for children with special needs in Kentucky and southern Indiana.
It takes a cast of thousands to stage the annual miracle. From individual donors dropping pocket change into boots at firefighter road blocks to children with lemonade stands to corporations offering payroll deduction, it all comes together each year on the first weekend in June.
Nearly 60 percent of donations are collected by about 200 fire departments in Kentucky and southern Indiana. Fern Creek Fire Department led the way with $194,176.54 as their Chief Mike Schmidt retires this year.
Fire departments got involved with the Crusade in 1956 when Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Chief Ernie Bohler brought $400 on the Memorial Auditorium stage in Louisville and challenged all fire departments to get involved.
Like last year, the top Indiana fire department was Lafayette Township Fire Department with their highest total yet of $118,161.
Also repeating from last year, the Archdiocese of Louisville led the community organizations with $273,613 in contributions.
Top Kentucky Fire Departments
Fern Creek Fire Department $194,176.54
Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Protection District $194,154.54
Jeffersontown Fire Protection District $115,278.12
Highview Fire Protection District $90,273.76
St. Matthews/Lyndon Fire Protection District $80,066.00
Top Indiana Fire Departments
Lafayette Township Fire Department $118,161.00
Charlestown Fire Department $62,320.22
Monroe Township Fire Department $51,500.00
New Albany Fire Department & Harvest Homecoming $46,183.31
Clarksville Fire Department $34,693.00
Archdiocese of Louisville $273,613.00
LG&E KU PPL Companies $232,290.00
McAlister’s Deli $138,332.52
Norton Healthcare $128,538.40
Jefferson County Public Schools $115,620.67
To honor a pledge
Tax-deductible contributions can be sent anytime:
WHAS Crusade for Children
520 W. Chestnut St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Donations can also be made securely online onwww.WHASCrusade.org.
To view a complete list of all groups that made donations to the 66th annual Crusade, go towww.WHASCrusade.org.
Photo Credit: WHAS Crusade for Children