LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For 67 years, the WHAS Crusade for Children has helped special needs children across Kentucky and Southern Indiana. The pandemic has changed everything about this beloved local charity.
Normally, firefighters across Kentucky are collecting money for the Crusade on street corners and intersections in the weeks leading up to the annual June telethon. COVID-19 forced the Crusade to move to October and while some firehouses are still collecting at intersections, safety concerns have many stations opting out.
Millions of dollars are collected each year and 100 percent of the proceeds go to help children. Since its inception, the Crusade has raised more than $190 million.
Jeffersontown fire chief, Colonel Sean Dreisbach, has been involved with the Crusade for decades. He knows what the Crusade stands for and why it is so important to kids across Kentuckiana.
"People here have a history going all the back from when they used to be kids. If they grew up in the fire service they probably collected with their mom or dad for Crusade for Children. I started collecting with my boy scout troop back when I was 16 years old."
This year anyone wanting to contribute to the WHAS Crusade for children can do so by going to their local fire departments, online, or various apps.
Dreisbach said, now more than ever it is important for people to donate.
"I encourage people to still give, and I know people are struggling right now, but any little bit helps, only if it's a couple of dollars."
Dreisbach says he feels very strongly about the Crusade and the work they do. Several people in his department have been helped by the Crusade.
"We had a firefighter who had kids affected by the actual donations that were given to Crusade for Children that helped his family get through with their child that had special needs."
Dreisbach said everyone knows the WHAS Crusade for Children takes place the first weekend in June, moving the date to October may hurt them, but Dreisbach hopes it doesn't and wants to spread the word about the Crusade.
"I think a lot of people have forgotten Crusade for Children is this weekend so we are trying to get that word out by social media, face-to-face, word of mouth, whatever you want to call it. We've been trying to get that word to the public; let them know and remind them this is the weekend to give."
He says no matter what you give, every cent will make a difference to a child and their family.