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Short of goal, but still long on giving

Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff Lily Satterlee, the daughter of Tom and Shana Satterlee of Sauk Centre, took to the Jingle Bells' stage Saturday night during the telethon, which was broadcast live from the Lake Geneva Christian Center by KSAX-TV.1 / 2
Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff Owen Miller surprised Jingle Bells emcees by presenting a birthday cake commemorating the 60th anniversary of the program. They included (left to right) Emily Deem with KSAX and Jaycees members Joe Korkowski and Nicole Klimek.2 / 2

The weather outside wasn't too frightful, the emcees were definitely pleasurable and the entertainment was more than delightful.

And most of all, the donations were something to be thankful for.

The Alexandria Jaycees hailed this year's annual Jingle Bells Telethon, which was aired live on KSAX-TV, as yet another successful year. It was the telethon's 60th anniversary.

At the end of the telethon Saturday night, the total amount raised was just over $107,000, according to Joe Korkowski, one of the emcees for the evening, as well as an associate Jaycees member.

"We had hoped for at least the same amount as last year, $138,000-plus, but we understand that we had a couple of things going against us," said Korkowski Monday morning.

The first, noted Korkowski, is the after effects of spending many months in a down economy.

The other, he added, were all of the other great events and causes that take place this time of year.

Kathy Schlosser, co-chair of the Jingle Bells Telethon, said she felt the Jaycees met their expectations for this year.

"We knew we were up against a huge challenge when it came to the donation total this year. We were bracing ourselves for reality," Schlosser said.

She also added that everyone should feel proud of what was accomplished. Everyone, she said, from those who helped organize and plan the event to the hosts and the talent and all the workers and volunteers who helped deliver the baskets.

"I feel the spirit of Christmas is all about doing something good for others and that is what Jingle Bells did," said Schlosser.

Regardless of the amount of donations that were contributed during the telethon, Korkowski said, "We are so grateful for all of the great contributions made - both in-kind and monetarily."

Because of the Jingle Bells Telethon and all of its efforts, the Jaycees are able to take care of more than 1,000 families this Christmas season, he added.

He noted that there may be one down side to the decrease in donations this year. The Jaycees may not be able to help out the food shelf later in the year like it has in the past. In addition, the organization's hardship funds are "nowhere near what they have been in the last few years," said Korkowski.

He added, "We may have helped 1,050 families with a little boost this Christmas, but it's equally important to have a community-wide event like Jingle Bells because it's a way to unite people - both young and old."

He said the Jingle Bells Telethon is a great way to not only remind adults what's truly important, but it also teaches young people the importance of volunteering, to think beyond themselves and shows them just how much can actually be done by people who care for their community and who work together to get something done.

Korkowski mentioned that more than 250 volunteers helped out Sunday morning at H. Boyd Nelson in Alexandria packing and delivering more than 1,000 toy and food baskets, which were delivered within a 60-mile radius of Alexandria.

Donations to the Jingle Bells Telethon can be made all year long. Here's how:

Mail donations to Jingle Bells, P.O. Box 131, Alexandria, MN, 56308.

For more information about the Jingle Bells Telethon or the Alexandria Jaycees, visit the Jaycees website at