The West Nipissing Fire Department’s Santa Fund has once again exceeded its $30,000 goal after another generous week of donations from locals, culminating in Moose FM’s radiothon on Nov. 26.
It was the second year in a row that COVID-19 made the Santa Fund’s annual telethon at the Marcel Noel Hall impossible. Organizers stuck to the same formula that worked last year by holding a virtual auction over Facebook in the weeks leading up to the radiothon. A few changes were made from 2020, including stopping the auction the night before the radiothon to cause less confusion with prize pickups.
“The community came through as they always do,” says Steph Larouche, who hosted the 12-hour radiothon. “It was really quite amazing. They had that virtual auction ahead of time, so we were able to announce some of the winners on the air throughout the day. Then of course the big announcement at the end of the day of the big total that they got.”
The final tally was a whopping $33,525.
Donated prizes for the auction included Christmas decorations, a set of winter tires, an autographed jersey, gift baskets and much more.
“It went really well,” says WN Fire Chief Richard Maranda. “Kudos to everybody working, the businesses that gave out auction items and the municipality in general; everybody that supported us came through and it’s going to make it a lot easier for us to help out the unfortunate kids in the municipality.”
Maranda notes that donations always come in after the fact as well. The WN Fire Department accepts contributions to the Santa Fund year-round: donations can be made at the main station in Sturgeon Falls. But the majority of the fund’s money is given through this stretch in late November.
Larouche, who was the morning host in town for seven years and helped establish the annual radiothon for the West Nipissing Food Bank, jumped at the opportunity to come back and visit for a day and help a good cause.
“This year, our other morning host was unavailable, so I made the trek back and did the 12 hours on the air. It was a little bit of an adjustment… I had used the equipment before, but it was all sort of lost, so I had to reacquaint myself with everything. It was fun.”