Wednesday, December 04, 2002

WTAE-TV Sponsors Project Bottoms-Up Telethon

Stemming from the success of this year’s Project Bundle-Up, The Salvation Army and WTAE-TV announced plans to hold another telethon aimed at local disadvantaged college students. Project Bottoms-Up will provide collegians ages 21 to 25 with alcoholic beverages to help them fight off the winter chill.

“These days, kids aren’t too keen on wearing hand-me-downs,” said telethon emcee Joe DeNardo. “But they need to stay warm somehow. Believe me, alcohol is a better insulator than some ratty, old parka.”

The three-hour, live broadcast telethon will feature music, entertainment, and appearances by local celebrities including former Pittsburgh Panthers Head Coach Johnny Majors and former Allegheny County Judge Patrick McFalls.

“I wish they had this kind of charity when I was in school,” McFalls said in a telephone interview from an undisclosed alcohol rehabilitation facility.

During the event, sober volunteers will take small groups of students on bar-hopping excursions around the city and also help them navigate their way through Wine and Spirits Shops.

“If I can save just one kid from freezing his ass off this winter by purchasing a case of Jim Beam...well I consider that a sound investment,” volunteer Debbie Shaver said.

Through fundraising efforts, the generosity of the community, and donations from area bars, liquor stores, and beer distributors, organizers estimate that over 50,000 students will benefit from Project Bottoms-Up. Eligibility is based on economic needs and the accessibility to free beer, therefore fraternity members are exempt. “Sure, it’s true that alcohol only creates an illusion of warmth,” DeNardo said, “but we hope to generate enough donations so that these kids can drink themselves numb until spring arrives.” Applications are available at the University Beverage Center, Craig Street Distributing, and Mellinger's Beer Distributor.

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