Radiothon funds education and outreach for child protection teams

By Gabby Landsverk,  Staff Writer

This holiday season, you can do your holiday shopping and make a difference in your community without leaving your chair; just turn on your radio.

The upcoming Radiothon to End Child Abuse, a 24-hour fundraising event, brings together multiple counties for the same purpose: to make kids safer. From noon Dec. 4 to noon Dec. 5, WJJY, B93.3, Cool 103.5 and the Power Loon radio stations will be devoting air time to raising awareness and money by running messages about child protection, gathering pledges from listeners, and auctioning items donated by community businesses.

The Radiothon has a long history of fundraising success across the state, beginning in 1987.

Since then, it as raised $1 million for child protection services, according to the event’s website. This year’s event is a collaboration by Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties spearheaded by Brainerd radio stations, who will be hosting the event.

This year will be the county’s fifth year of involvement, said Laura DeChaines, a social worker at Lindbergh Elementary and member of Morrison County’s Child Protection Team. DeChaines initially brought the Radiothon to the attention of Morrison County, and proposed that the county participate.

Publicity has grown with each year as more people hear about the Radiothon, according to County Attorney Brian Middendorf, a member of the Child Protection Team’s executive board

“The word is getting out about what a wonderful event this is, so hopefully it keeps growing,” Middendorf said.

Members of the Child Protection Team are in charge of going out into the community to gather support and donations from local businesses.

Many local businesses have pledged to the event multiple times, and their participation garners recognition for both the business owners and the event itself.

“It’s fun because businesses will challenge each other (to pledge),” DeChaines said. “Year after year, the same ones will donate.”

A few examples from this year include Rosenmeier Law Office, GoldSmith Jewelers, Circle R Ranch and Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Middendorf said.

“Those are just some examples. The list goes on and on,” Middendorf said.

Items donated to the auction are a particularly effective way to raise money, Middendorf said, since it coincides with the holiday season.

“(The auction items) make terrific gifts this time of year, so the timing is really perfect,” Middendorf said.

The Radiothon is the county’s largest fundraiser for the Child Protection Team. says Middendorf. All money from donations by local businesses will stay within the community to fund local education programs, support groups, and other projects to end child abuse.

Middendorf called the Radiothon a “win-win” situation for everyone involved.

“No matter who you are, you have a role to play in ending child abuse in the community and this is one of the simplest, easiest things you can do,” Middendorf said.

To learn more, pledge, or bid on auction items, visit www.brainerd.com/radiothon.

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