“We have an obligation to do something.”

That’s what Geoff Barton, vice-president of the Meadow Lake Kinsmen, had to say about the responsibility his group has to ensure some sort of Telemiracle event still happens in Meadow Lake even though it will likely be much different than what has been presented in past years.

“We’ve talked about it a lot and, while we’re not entirely sure what we will do just yet, the odds of us having a live show like we normally do are slim to none,” Barton said. “You can’t really go ahead and plan something like that either only to have to turn around and not be able to do it for obvious reasons. However, we are definitely going to do something. What that something is, we don’t know yet.”

For more than 40 years, the Kinsmen have organized the local show – traditionally held at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre – which runs concurrently with the province-wide Telemiracle from either Regina or Saskatoon. The local show is broadcast via the radio and includes live entertainment, special presentations, a phone centre for accepting donations, items up for bids and more.

“If there is a positive to the current (COVID-19) situation, it’s how much money we will save in expenses,” Barton continued. “The local Telemiracle show usually brings in between $35,000 to $50,000 in donations from one year to the next, but it is also an expensive show to put on. By not doing the show (in 2021), we will certainly save on expenses.”

As for the provincial show, Telemiracle 45 will continue with its traditional 20-hour telethon Feb. 27 and 28 from Prairieland Park in Saskatoon. Changes will, however, be made to create a safe event that follows public health guidelines, while the show’s new format will feature a mix of Telemiracle traditions and new technology.

“Our theme and logo chosen for this year was the family bubble gathered in front of the TV to watch the telethon,” noted Telemiracle 45 chair Brian Angstadt. “We didn’t know it was going to predict the future. We invite everyone in Saskatchewan to gather with their bubble in front of the TV or computer to watch TeleMiracle 45 in February.”

Format changes include no live audience, pre-recorded performances by all the entertainers, and cameos and special appearances being pre-recorded or made live via remote video.

Through the proceeds of this annual telethon – including those raised in Meadow Lake – the Kinsmen Foundation helps people in Saskatchewan everyday to improve their independence and quality of life. The foundation provides specialized mobility and medical equipment to people and organizations throughout the province, as well as travel assistance for residents in need of vital medical treatment outside their community.

“There is just no way we can say, ‘Sorry folks, not this year,’” Barton added with regard to the Meadow Lake Telemiracle event. “Again, we have to do something.”

by Phil Ambroziak