Charity roundup: Clark Howard’s Christmas Kids, Power’s Stuff a Bus, 11Alive Canathon, Fish Christmas Wish

Clark Howard, at the Milton Wal-Mart December 9 for the Clark's Kids toy drive, gabs with BurgerFi franchise owner Ron Altman. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com
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Clark Howard, at the Milton Wal-Mart December 9 for the Clark's Kids toy drive, gabs with BurgerFi franchise owner Ron Altman. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

This was posted Sunday, January 8, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

A victim of my own procrastination, I failed to report on a few radio and TV charity events I visited last month. Here is an overview before it gets TOO far into January.

For an incredible 26th year, radio host and on-line consumer guru Clark Howard collected toys for Georgia’s foster children.

The good news: his fans, via collections at local Wal-Marts and Sams Clubs, purchased 25,000 toys for more than 8,400 foster kids. (Each child requested three gifts.)

The bad news: that number is by far the most Clark has ever had to collect. He said the epidemic of opiate addiction has riven more and more families in the state.

“It’s our listeners and viewers who come and decide out of the goodness of their heart to open up their wallets,” Clark said in a Facebook Live video from the Milton Wal-Mart last month. “The only way this kid gets Christmas gifts is if you do it.”

Clark said the biggest challenge is getting donors to buy gifts for the older teens, who are most vulnerable and are about to age out of the foster care system. “They are on their own when they turn 18,” he said. “They are cast out.”

He said this was not his idea in 1991. A promotions person at WSB wanted to give gifts to kids in general. A year later, Clark took it over and it eventually became Clark’s Christmas Kids around 1993 or 1994, he said.

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Clark Howard with Loraine Antonini and her grand-daughter Sadie, 9. “We came specifically for this,” Loraine said. “Just to help make Christmas special.” She selected gifts for at two-year-old named Tyson. Her daughter picked another nine year old girl. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

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Alpharetta residents Ashlyn and Don Stallings came dressed for the occasion. CREDIT Rodney Ho/r/rho@ajc.com

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Clark at the mic. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

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The crowds that Friday afternoon at the Milton Wal-Mart were steady. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

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Don Fiechter, a Milton resident, had come in to Wal-Mart to buy dog food. He ended up buying a bike and action figures for a foster kids in need as well. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

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Emily Malkin of Sandy Springs volunteered for Clark’s Kids for the first time. “I love this event,” she said. “I’m not a crier but this makes me cry.” CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

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George Thomas works for Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia, which helped coordinate the collection and distribution of the toys all across the state. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

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Karen Emory, the widower of Capt. Herb Emory, who passed in 2014, came by to support the cause. She continues to help out with a special Toys for Tots drive in memory of her husband in Douglas County. It raised $41,000 this year. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

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Kyle and Tonya Hackman of Alpharetta mentor emancipated foster kids so this is a cause close to their hearts. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

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Erin Burch (left) used to work as a producer for Clark Howard’s radio show. Mark Arum, talk show host and traffic guy, greets her husband Brock. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

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Mark Arum guest hosts with Clark Howard during the drive on December 9, 2016. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

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Mark Arum jokes with Karen Emory on air. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

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Clark Howard greets Ria Kotwani of Cumming. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

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Here is a sweet Christmas Wish from Fish 104.7 that will make you feel good – unless you are the Grinch!

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Power 96.1 may have changed morning shows last year but it decided to stick with its Stuff a Bus toy campaign toy collection drive started by Scotty Kay in 2014.

Here are some shots and a Facebook Live video I took from Atlantic Station of the new team of PK (Panagiotis Kalentzis,), his wife Denise and Terry J.

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PK, Terry J and Denise in the stuffed bus. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

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The Power 96.1 morning show husband-wife team of PK and Denise. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

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Chesley McNeil, Vinnie Politan and Chris “Crash” Clark in Santa gear at the 11Alive Can-a-thon at Turner Field. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

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Vinnie Politan interviews Rod MacKenzie and Mike Martin of Primerica, volunteers for the Salvation Army. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

Finally, I stopped by the 11Alive Can-a-thon for the Salvation Army at a Turner Field parking lot.

Although while I was there that Friday morning, donations were sparse, people came out in force later in the day. Pick up spots were all over the city. In the end, 11Alive collected the most food since 2008, far exceeding its totals from 2015. The efforts were able to stock 13 food pantries for an entire year.

This year, 11Alive used Radio One radio stations (Hot 107.9, Majic 107.5/97.5, Boom 102.9, Praise 102.5) instead of CBS Radio (V-103 and WAOK) as supporting radio partners. Donations increased an impressive 27 percent with Rome residents being especially charitable.

2015:
Turner: 31,008
Cumberland Mall/Cobb: 40,392
Infinite Energy Center/Gwinnett: 55,041
Rome: 67,781
Studio: 26,452
TOTAL: 220,674

2016
Turner: 36,762
Cumberland Mall/Cobb: 37,128
Infinite Energy Center/Gwinnett: 62,724
Rome: 110,000
Studio: 22,200
Mobile/Online: 11,952
TOTAL: 280,739


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