Preparations are in full force with a major fundraiser in southeastern Saskatchewan just about a month away.

United Way Estevan's 46th-annual Telethon is scheduled for October 14-15 at the Estevan Legion.

They have a fundraising goal of $350,000 so they can help their 12 member agencies and distribute funds to a selection of community-impact projects.

United Way Estevan President Robert Godfrey said they look forward to the whole community being able to enjoy the 33-hour entertainment marathon from the Legion Hall.

"That ties in to our theme this year," he said. "It is 'Reunited... and it feels so good,' and it's because we really are reunited."

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test were required to attend the 45th iteration of the event.

"It's going to be nice to allow everyone into the Legion, be able to check out the entertainment," said Godfrey. "And it's great for us as a board to see the Legion hall filled. It's great for our entertainment to see a great audience there to cheer them on and thank them for performing for us. It's going to be really, really great to be back to normal."

The community raised $359,000 during last year's event, passing the goal of $345,000.

The Telethon committees are now meeting weekly to get ready for Telethon.

Businesses are also teaming up with the non-profit organization. So far, Murray GM is hosting a kick-off barbeque on October 12 and Great Canadian Oil Change is running their Oil-A-Thon on October 12 and 13.

Godfrey said they are open to a range of entertainment options. 

"The entertainment doesn't have to be just singing. Whether you've got dancing, you've got a talent of any kind that you want to show off. I know last year we introduced to the Telethon a cooking show. Really anything fun that we can put onto our broadcast, we're looking for."

There are other ways you can help out too. The auction is a big part of the fundraiser. A record of 134 items were donated last year. And volunteers are needed to make the event possible. Tasks include things like answering phones, running cameras, and helping with set-up.

Godfrey said the event makes a huge impact on the community each year.

"We do our entire year fundraising in this 33-hour live event. Without this event, we wouldn't be able to support our member agencies... That [$350,000] goal is picked from the needs of our member agencies. They submit their request for funding, and from that, we tally up those numbers, see what we're able to do and how we're able to help them."

He added that the pandemic-induced addition of virtual performances to the Telethon is a useful tool that they'll continue to incorporate when performers aren't able to make it to Estevan during the event.

You can get more information by calling Executive Director Heidi Hesselink at 306-634-7375.