Adserveo sat down with Ken Hopkins, from 92.9 ZZU to talk about its annual giving campaign, Christmas Wish. This year marks the 21st year of giving to the Spokane Community.
EW: How did Christmas Wish begin?
Ken Hopkins (KH): Christmas Wish started back in 95, which means this is our 21st year. At the time it was just Dave and I doing the morning show and we had this idea of doing a fundraiser and we thought it would be great to surprise a family with gifts as an on air programming feature. The first year was very scaled down, maybe 5 or 6 on air deliveries.
After the first year we had a great response from the community with people wanting to donate so we got a bank involved and found official locations where people could drop off their donations.
EW: How many families are you delivering to this year?
KH: We deliver to around 20 families on air but really the bulk of what we do is what you don't hear on the air through our mail outs. We get around 300-400 letters that come in and we start mail outs before Thanksgiving. We mail things like grocery cards and gift cards so families can get toys and food for the holidays. The program has really grown from its early years, the on air deliveries are done on a much larger scale and we do hundreds of mail outs. Each year our program grows a little larger and we get a little more efficient. Now we have a whole crew behind the scenes that does the shopping and reads all the letters. There are so many components of Christmas Wish; from sales to
programming to the on air staff and the folks behind the scenes.
EW: What is your favorite part about Christmas Wish?
KH: I would say it's still the on air component and my reason is twofold. I love the way it sounds on the air through the letter reading and the on air delivery, which really, it just can't help but soften your heart a little bit.
But then I'll tell you this, when the elves come back sometimes there is so much more to the story that you don't get to hear on the air. It can be overwhelming when a bunch of people sh
ow up and sometimes they experience stage fright, and they're on the phone and they don't really know what's going on.
Usually after the fact, our folks will come back and say it was a neat experience, they'll have music playing and their kids are there and they were so thankful. A lot of time it doesn't come across fully on the air because they're just so overwhelmed. So that's a neat thing to know that you left them better then when you found them.
EW: Do you have a Christmas Wish story that has stuck with you over the years?
KH: There are so many special moments from the past 21 years it's hard to choose just one. We've had many families throughout the year that one year we're delivering to a family and the next year they donate. I remember that we've had a couple families where a fire had hit their home, they were displaced and their most basic needs were gone, everything from tooth brushes to hair dryers. We've had several families like that and the next year they come to our drive by locations and say 'you helped us last year and we're in a great place, we know how much it meant to us and we want to donate this year.'
Stuff like that, it's like wow, this really is a community helping each other, neighbors helping neighbors, coworkers helping coworkers sort of thing and that definitely makes an impact and is so awesome to see.
Interested in Donating? Want to learn more about Christmas Wish? Click HERE to read Christmas Wish's FAQ.