Odds are against Ed McMahon knocking on your door Feb. 6 with a sweepstakes check in your name. But it is possible a local celebrity could call your house that day to talk about money.
More than 200 United Jewish Federation Campaign volunteers, including media personalities and public officials, will be soliciting donations at the 19th annual Super Sunday phonathon.
Drew Kahn of WKBW-TV, along with Scott Levin of WGRZ-TV and Don Postles of WIVB-TV are among the celebrity volunteers who will be asking thousands of Buffalo area contributors to open their hearts and their checkbooks. Public officials participating include Mayor Anthony M. Masiello, Buffalo Common Council President James W. Pitts, and Rep. Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg.
Super Sunday is the climax to a series of UJF Campaign 2000 phonathons, said Deena Risman, the federation's public relations director.
Although calls will be made largely to the local Jewish community, there are many non-Jewish beneficiaries, some of whom live in other countries such as Rwanda and Chechnya, she said.
"There are roughly 18,000 Jews in the Buffalo area, and for the most part they are the ones we will be calling for donations, people who have contributed in the past or who have an interest in contributing," Risman said. "But the money supports humanitarian endeavors of Jewish and non-Jewish people in Western New York, in Israel and in other overseas locations."
In all, the Jewish Federation has sent funds raised from the campaign to 60 different countries.
This year's Super Sunday is co-chaired by Lawrence Franco and Michele Goldfarb. Both leaders stressed the importance of the phonathon as a means of raising essential funds and community awareness of the work of the United Jewish Fund Campaign.
"It represents an outreach to the entire community for support," Franco said. "An important part of it deals with building a stronger sense of community through cooperative efforts."
Super Sunday brought in about $150,000 last year "for just eight hours of calling," Risman said. "This year's goal is to raise as much as we can possibly raise."
Volunteers are needed. Anyone interested in volunteering or contributing should contact the Jewish Federation at 886-7750.