On Thursday June 25, 2020, 98.3 FLY FM and Pure Country 99 will be hosting a live stream-a-thon for the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation. IBEW Local 115 will be doubling the impact by matching all donations up to a maximum of $25,000.
The event will be hosted by Reid and Ben from 98.3 FLY FM and will be streamed on the Foundation’s website. Top country artists like Jason McCoy, Hunter Brothers, George Canyon and MacKenzie Porter will make special appearances to amp up the excitement. Guests from the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and Providence Care will talk about how the funds will be put to good use.
“We’re very proud to help support the Foundation,” says Local 115 President Jason Kish. “We’ve been extremely fortunate with the major projects we’ve been doing in our area, and we like to give back. Everyone is affected by illness at some point in their lives, and by the KHSC we’re helping everyone in our community.”
Brittany Thompson, Program Director for both radio stations and organizer of the event, says, “We weren’t aware how much hospitals rely on community donations. The federal and provincial governments provide funding, but all the equipment and everything that goes on inside the building is dependant on community donations. We’re hoping the stream-a-thon will help make a difference for people in the Kingston area.”
Local 115’s Commitment to the Foundation and Other Great Causes
This isn’t the first time IBEW Local 115 has made a major donation to the Foundation. On October 23, 2019, Kish and Local 115 Business Manager Bill Pearse presented a $25,000 cheque to the organization.
“We try to make a donation to them every year, if not more,” explains Kish. “Normally we have an annual golf tournament and silent auction, which used to be run by Steve Wilson until he passed away from cancer. Members Rob Kelly and Mark Brown have since taken up the torch and now run the golf tournament and make donations on Steve’s behalf. Unfortunately Steve didn’t win his battle, but if we can help the hospitals help others, we will.”
Local 115 has helped other great causes like CHEO, the Canadian Cancer Society, and has wired several Habitat for Humanity builds in Cornwall and Napanee. You can read more about Local 115 and some of its efforts in the community here.
But for Kish, the Foundation is especially important as the community tries to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’d like to thank the UHKF and the KHSC for all the hard work you do, and how much you help the people in our communities. We’re honoured to be a part of this, because health care workers are working extra hard right now and sacrificing themselves to help everyone else. Hopefully we’re giving back to you.”
A Great Way to Fundraise Safely in a Post-COVID World
Thompson comments on how the stream-a-thon event got started. “We were looking for a significant way to give back to the Kingston community hospitals, and we know that because of COVID their ability to fundraise would be affected. These days people are comfortable using online tools like Zoom, so we thought we’d try a stream-a thon instead of a traditional radiothon.”
Kish takes up the story. “Nicole Pierce from the Foundation reached out to Bill Pearse about the stream-a-thon and asked if Local 115 would be interested, and of course we were. Our membership had already passed a motion to donate, so we decided to do it this way to help encourage other people to donate.”
“Hospitals give back to all of us,” notes Thompson. “As a kid, I needed a hip replacement. I’ve sometimes asked myself what would have happened if the funds hadn’t been there for me.”
It’s All About Community
For Kish, giving back to the community goes beyond supporting great causes. Supporting local workers and local businesses is important too.
“There are all kinds of workers on the front lines,” he says. “Healthcare workers and also farmers, grocery store employees, and other food service workers. We hope the government realizes that they run the country, and deserve fair wages and pensions. Our message is to support your local community and use local businesses, because that’s how the economy is built.”