Wednesday, August 4, 2021

“Collecting Quarters for Kids again!” by: Christina Walton

Do you remember the Jerry Lewis Telethon Carnival kits? The kit was part of the historical Labour Day fundraising efforts to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and was full of ideas and props to help kids have a carnival to raise money.  The kit came with lists of ideas for games, like the “milk bottle drop.”  It included signs and posters, badges and tickets – everything a kid would need to host their very own carnival. 

In 1974, at the age of eight, my cousin Kathy and both got Carnival Kits. and helped each other plan our carnivals.  I had games like Bingo, and of course the “drop the clothes peg into the milk bottle” at five cents for three tries. We sold chocolate chip cookies and home made KoolAid. 

I raised $8 on that afternoon in my small country neighbourhood.  My cousin Kathy raised $22 with her kit! She lived in the city AND she had a pool. The pool was a hit, and her dad raked in quarters (big coins in 1974) on that hot summer afternoon.

We happily mailed our profits to Jerry Lewis and watched the telethon. As the numbers rolled on the tote board tallying the thousands of dollars that people donated so generously, my mom said something to me that I remember to this day: "Honey, $8 of that money is yours!"

I was part of something really big. This was the moment in my life that I realized I could make a real contribution and help others.

 I continue to help kids, and I continue to feel that sense of accomplishment that comes from being part of something big.  Now my focus is on grieving children and their families across Canada.  Children are often the forgotten mourners. I am a proud founding team member of the The Children's Grief Foundation of Canada.  We have funded five wonderful projects to date! 

We are a non-profit organization that raises funds to distribute to Canadian registered charities that support children’s bereavement. In some ways, the pandemic has moved grief and bereavement to the forefront of everyone’s lives so much of Canada is grieving, and children need and deserve support.

Every bit counts and goes to the beautiful people and programs working hard to meet the growing need for services. Can you help me collect quarters again?


Christina Walton lives in Hamilton, where she grew up and danced for    many years.  She works as a family therapist, and she and her husband Stephen, are the parents of three adult children. 


See Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

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