Waban’s Making a Difference Award, announced at Saturday’s annual telethon, was awarded to the Sanford Knights of Columbus, for all their hard work over the years supporting Waban. Representing the K of C on Saturday at the Waban Telethon were, from left, John Chandonnet, Immediate Past Grand Knight; Robert Rizzo, Manager Springvale Social Club; Robert Tyler, Springvale Knights of Columbus; John Jalbert; Dennis Breton, Grand Knight of the St. Thomas Council, and Ray Sargent, District Deputy. They were introduced by Waban Executive Director Neal Meltzer, in the foreground. COURTESY PHOTO

WABAN — Proceeds from the Waban Telethon, held Saturday, exceeded expectations — by a lot.

“We had a great event — the community came together to raise a record $110,725,” said Waban spokeswoman Heather Harris. “As you can imagine, the Waban team is thrilled with the outcome and the community spirit we felt that day.”

Saturday marked the 48th Waban Telethon, which raises money to help the Fraser Ford Child Development Center assist children with development disabilities.

The day-long telethon is sponsored by St. Therese of Lisieux Parish.

“With such an overwhelming outcome, it’s hard to express the depth of gratitude that I have for the community’s support, “ said Waban Executive Director Neal Meltzer. “Our community celebrated the day by providing volunteers, entertainers and performers, and hundreds of individuals, businesses, and organizations who demonstrated that coming together with ‘hearts and hands’ can make a difference. Their commitment is heart-warming, essential, and has ensured the ongoing viability of Waban’s specialized programs for children.”

The telethon, a community-wide and beyond effort, raised $95,000 in 2018 to help provide services to youngsters 3 to 7 years old at Fraser Ford Child Development Center.

Waban serves both children and adults with disabilities. The  overall budget is about $19 million annually; an estimated $3 million of that is directed to children’s services, Meltzer said.

Currently, there are 50 children enrolled at the Fraser Ford Child Development Center on the Waban campus. By the end of the school year, there will be 60, said Meltzer. In prior years, he said, there were about the same number of children, but with the new autism therapy wing, built a few years ago, Waban is serving children with more significant needs.

Earning special recognition during the busy telethon were the Sanford Knights of Columbus, who donate the proceeds from their Friday night haddock dinner that precedes the telethon and sell food during the telethon to benefit Waban.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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