Life Skills, Knights of Columbus prepare for 39th Annual Phonothon

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Life Skills runs a commercial laundry where clients sort and fold the clothes.
(Photo by Megan Sabin)

The Plymouth County Knights of Columbus members are preparing for the 39th Annual Plymouth County KC Phonothon, which raises funds for people with disabilities and specifically Life Skills Training Center in Le Mars, on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Life Skills.

The 2019 Phonothon is set for Wednesday, September 4. KC members will be calling area residents from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. that day seeking donations. Ninety-percent of the money raised with the Phonothon will go to Life Skills, with the remaining ten-percent going to Special Olympics. This years goal will be to raise $55,000 (countywide) and have a challenge goal of $57,000. Last year, Remsen alone brought in about $11,000 towards the goal.

In its 39 years, the KC Phonothon has raised over $1,540,329 for Life Skills Training Center.

Life Skills runs a commercial laundry where clients sort and fold the clothes.
(Photo by Megan Sabin)

Life Skills Marketing Development Coordinator Shelly Thomson stated, “We just want to thank the people of Plymouth County and Remsen in particular for trusting us with this sum of money that they have gifted us. It has seen Life Skills through some pretty lean years. If it hadn't been for this Phonothon, Life Skills doors would not be open.”

The donations raised during the Phonothon go towards specific programs at Life Skills. Thomson explained what programs Life Skills offers, “The continuing donations that you make every year helps us run some very successful programs and it effects about 55 of our clients here. It allows us to operate a laundry that does 4,000 pounds of business a day. It allows us to operate a van system that takes our clients to 25 different janitorial sites. And it is used on our Adult Day Habilitation program. That program has been our shining star here for the last couple of years, and it has been very successful and is growing. We are looking forward to only positive things in the future for that program.”

A new program Life Skills is working on will be the focus for this years funds. Thomson stated, “The new program that we are going to be operating here, and is always a goal here, is the Employment Training and Education Program. We have allocated funding to set up a training room with computers and a professional room for them to research jobs and research things that they would be interested in. We'll be working with resumes, interviewing techniques and our ultimate goal is to get as many of our clients integrated into the community here as possible.”

Some new and old faces will be in charge of the Phonothon. Thomson explained, “Don Nore will be our honorary chairman this year. He was our former Life Skills Training Center Executive Director here for a number of years. We have a brand new chairman in Remsen, Tony Loutsch; he will be the Grand Knight this year. Our phone chairman will be Tim Russell again for Remsen. They will be operating out of the VFW Hall. If you would just like to call directly into the VFW, their number is 786-2075, and they'd be glad to hear your phone call.”

Each year, the Phonothon faces some challenges. Thomson explained, “One of the big struggles of the Phonothon every year is more and more people are going to cell phones. So if you are not getting a phone call and you would be willing to donate to our organization, please feel free to call in there. You can give your cell phone number out; your cell phone number does not leave my office. We don't sell numbers. They are very secure numbers so please don't be afraid to share those numbers with us.”

Thomson is excited and happy for the Knights of Columbus help with this fundraiser, “When you hear the phone call come on September 4th, please pick up your phone and give generously. This is by far our biggest fundraiser of the year, and it is so vitally important to us. The funds are used directly for the clients. They're not used for the administration here; it is all used for some sort of a project that is directly going to impact the clients’ daily life here, whether it be software or a new van or new program.”

The Remsen Knights of Columbus will be working out of the VFW Hall and have a Chamber Coffee from 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. on that Wednesday morning. The public is invited to come out and enjoy donuts and coffee before all the calling begins.