One lucky Qcity charity will get a surprise visit on Friday from NBC television personality Al Roker.
The “Today” show weatherman will pull up to the charity’s door in a Penske truck loaded with donated supplies. He’ll then spend time throughout the broadcast telling “Today” show viewer about the organization and the local work it does.
Charlotte will be the final stop on Roker’s weeklong “Lend a Hand Today” road show. He kicked off the trip today in Los Angeles and will travel east, stopping in a different city each day — Portland, Ore., on Tuesday; Galveston, Texas, on Wednesday; and Little Rock, Ark., on Thursday – and spotlighting a different charity at every stop.
“Today” show officials are being mum about which Charlotte charity they selected; only the organization’s top leaders were notified.
A “Today” show spokeswoman said the tour this year collected about $2 million in donations from companies such as Columbia Sportswear Company, Nike, Lowes, Home Depot, JC Penny, Scholastic, Ethan Allen Global, Mazda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Sara Lee, Mr. Clean, JanSport, and Energizer.
In an interview last week, Roker told Qcitymetro.com he started the annual tour in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks. It started as a way to spotlight deserving organizations at a time when much of the nation’s charitable giving had shifted to nonprofits relate to 9/11.
But this year, he said, with the national economy in recession, the tour again has added significance.
“It’s been a tough time,” he said. “…We’ve seen the economy in so many parts of the country just devastate areas and people.”
Indeed, some Charlotte-area charities say they’ve seen demand for services increase 20-50 percent this year, even as local donations have fallen. Charlotte’s Arts & Science Council said its grants to major beneficiaries are 26 percent year over year, and the local United Way is expected to announce cuts later this week.
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