Variety Kids Telethon 2011

March 7, 2011 Updated Mar 7, 2011 at 12:23 AM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

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March 7, 2011 Updated Mar 7, 2011 at 12:23 AM EDT

The hearts of western New Yorkers spilling over Sunday for one of the few telethons still running in the U.S. and it all benefits crucial services needed by thousands of children across our area. The people of this area have responded to the needs of children once again by raising more than one million two hundred thousand dollars during the 2011 Variety Club Children's Telethon.

"They have big hearts...not little hearts but big hearts, because they know it's for our children here, to help them and improve health and well being. And that's what we are all about," said Pat Somogye, this year's General Chairperson for the telethon.

Despite a weak economy, the Variety Club Telethon is a success each year. Steve Podosek is the Executive Producer of the telethon. "With everything that this area is facing...to have them come out and give our kids one million two hundred thousand dollars, it's remarkable. We are going to do a lot to make good things happen every day for our kids," he said.

"It's so much better to give than to receive as the saying goes. You get a different feeling inside when you are able to help any single child in any small way that you can," stated Joseph Salvatore one of this year's honorary chairpersons.

The telethon benefits local charities that serve children. The most recognized is Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo. Hundreds work throughout the year to raise more than one million dollars. Paula Salvadore, the other honorary chairperson, remarked, "Unbelievable amount of volunteers that are behind the scenes in this. I don't really think western New Yorker even understands how many people are here. It's amazing and it's just wonderful that they touch so many lives. I don't even know if they realize how many lives they touch."

This was the 49th annual telethon. So, now what's in store for next year's. "Well it's going to be the 50th anniversary . I think we should do something bigger than we have ever done before. I do know that the committee is going to meet in two weeks...lay out the plans so we can get an early start. We are hoping to do a big, big think next year," said Bill Ransom, General Manager of WKBW-TV.