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October 31, 2013

Radio-thon Friday to support 100-year tradition

TERRE HAUTE — A century-long activity goes beyond a trend or a routine. It’s a tradition.

The Light House Mission in Terre Haute first distributed Thanksgiving food baskets to needy Wabash Valley residents in 1913, the same year deadly tornadoes and a record flood devastated the region. The shelter at 1450 Wabash Ave. has continued the effort every year since then, through the Depression, two world wars, the 2008 flood, and the Great Recession.

One-hundred years after the tradition began, lean economic times have the Mission partnering with Terre Haute Ministries on Friday for a one-day fundraiser. The goal of the fund drive is to raise the $30,000 needed to fill 1,650 food baskets in Vigo and surrounding counties. They will be given out Nov. 26.

“Like every nonprofit, the economy has affected us,” said Bonnie Wallace, the Mission’s director of development. “This has been kind of a tough year financially.”

The drive will center on a “Thanks for 100 Years of Giving,” 12-hour radio-thon, starting at 6 a.m. Friday and being broadcast over six stations at Midwest Communications: WMGI 100.7, WXXR 95.9, WIBQ 98.5 and WDWQ 102.7 on FM, and WBOW-AM 1300 and WPRS-AM 1440. Wallace said donors can call in pledges or drop them off in person at Midwest Communications, at 824 S. Third St., Terre Haute.

Terre Haute Ministries is handling the drive’s fundraising process, and the organization’s executive director, the Rev. Honnalora Hubbard, sees the collaboration as a way to help sustain a longtime outreach and support its agency. “What we should do is just strengthen the programs we have in the community,” Hubbard said.

“[The Light House Mission] is a local organization that’s been in our community, doing great work for 100 years, and they’re struggling like a lot of organizations are,” Hubbard added.

The need has grown since 2012, Wallace said. Last year, the Light House Mission distributed 1,636 food baskets, a nearly $26,000 effort. The baskets are custom-sized to fit each receiving family or individual.

“We just do it because we know of the need,” Wallace said.

Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or mark.bennett@tribstar.com.

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