The 49th annual United Cerebral Palsy Telethon benefitting Tuscumbia's center fell short of its $125,000 goal.
The telethon on Sunday raised $90,914. Center officials are still taking donations.
"We feel very blessed to have raised this amount of money, even if it is short of the goal," said the center's director, Alison Isbell. "We've fallen short of the goal the last several years and we've just had to tighten our belts. We hope to have some more pledges coming in this week. We had some calls Monday morning with people pledging money."
At one time, the Florence Civitan-sponsored telethon was the only fundraiser for the center. Four years ago the center began sponsoring a half-marathon that has averaged generating about $25,000-$30,000 per year.
"The race has been a tremendous help to us financially," Isbell said. "It helps take up the slack from what we're lacking with the telethon. Times are tough economically and we just appreciate whatever we get. People are doing what they can, and we're committed to providing all the services we can for children and their families."
But there have been times when services had to be scaled back because more money wasn't available.
Last summer was one such occasion when the center had to make the decision not to have its summer camp.
"It's a very worthy program but we just couldn't make it happen last summer," Isbell said. "We're hoping to have it this year. We're like anyone else on a tight budget, we have to operate within it and that means really tightening our belt."
But Isbell said she hasn't cut staff hours. The center is open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"So far the cuts have come through cutting back on services we offer families," she said.
During the four-hour telethon Sunday on WDHF-15, public figures — including mayors from Florence and Sheffield, sheriffs from Colbert and Lauderdale counties and state Rep. Greg Burdine, D-Florence — volunteered to answer phones and collect pledges.
Colbert County Sheriff Ronnie May volunteered for the 12th year at the telethon.
"I do it for those children," he said. "When you see those children and the challenges they have in their lives, you realize they need someone other than their parents to step up and help. This is the least I can do to help in just some small way. This is just one of those things that really weighs on my heart."
The center operates on a budget of about $500,000, serving children with various challenges and providing services for families.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.