Branson Red Bucket Week Nets Over $14,000 for Pediatric Wheelchairs

    Grand County was one of the theaters participating in the Branson Cares Red Bucket Week Event. (Photo courtesy of Branson Music, Live Show, and Theater Industry Organization)

    A fundraising week involving Branson Theaters nets helps efforts in building pediatric wheelchairs.

    According to a release from Branson Music, Live Show, and Theater Industry Organization representative Bob Nichols, the week of November 14th saw 13 theaters collected $14,035.46 through the Branson Cares Fundraiser that saw the theaters collect money in Branson Cares Buckets from attendees to the shows. 

    Branson Cares is a joint effort from the theater organization in conjunction with Hope Haven International to collect the money to help with the wheelchair development. Besides the 13 theaters, 29 hotels and motels along with restaurants, retail locations, and two of Branson's shopping malls are a part of the group helping in this cause. 

    The full press release about Red Bucket Week is below:
    Red Bucket Week was fulfilled in 13 Branson Theaters by Entertainers, front of house staff and theater management, as part of the year-long effort here in Branson to build pediatric wheelchairs for children with disabilities around the world.
    Started in October of 2021, Branson Cares is a joint effort between Branson’s Music, Live Show and Theatre Industry org, BAAMT, and Hope Haven International which is based in Rock Valley, Iowa, BAAMT Board Chairman Brandon Mabe of Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers said that the two non-profits worked out the details over the course of many months prior to publicly launching the effort in the Summer of 2022.
    Branson Cares is an ongoing city-wide fundraiser being spearheaded by Branson’s shows and theaters. Bob Nichols, President of BAAMT explained, “Red Bucket Week is a special, one week effort that only comes once each year. During Red Bucket Week, Branson’s Entertainers and front of house staff hold our iconic red buckets while meeting their audiences after shows. It is a personal appeal to Branson’s visitors and especially our “show goers” that are a welcome and vital part of our community. We are all working together to show the world the Branson Cares.”
    At this point, Branson Cares is supported by 13 Branson theaters, 29 hotels and motels, numerous restaurants, retail locations and 2 of Branson’s shopping malls. Nichols said that since the roll out, the city of Branson has collected enough funding to build over 100 of these specially built wheelchairs for children. He continued, “We have been working to educate our industry members and the public while inviting all of Branson’s businesses, organizations and community members to get involved,” The total collected for the week was $14,035.46. Added to the collections being accepted all year long and the Branson Cares effort has built 102 pediatric wheelchairs. If they had to have been purchased, they would have a cost approximately $408,000.00.
     BAAMT Chairman Mabe shared that “… 100% of the funds raised here in Branson go to building, delivering and custom fitting these wheelchairs. All of our overhead expenses are paid by our benefactor, Hope Haven. Wheelchairs from our first year’s actions will be delivered to homebound children in Mexico this February. My wife Megan Mabe and I will accompany Bob Nichols and his wife Lana, along with staff from Hope Haven, on this mission trip to deliver mobility that is desperately needed by these kids and their families.” Les Feldman, Branson’s representative from Hope Haven added that each of these chairs to be delivered will bear a mark that reads, “Branson Cares.”
    Mr Feldman continued, “These chairs are specially designed for children with severe disabilities. They are fully adjustable as the child grows and/or their affliction changes the shapes of their little bodies. Our chairs are built in our factory in Rock Valley, Iowa and Sioux Falls, S.D.  by largely volunteer staff. We also maintain a in-prison factory in partnership with the South Dakota State Prison where inmates step up to build our chairs for only .25/hr. And many of the inmates periodically donate their wages back to Hope Haven to support the program.” Feldman also mentioned that several large corporations support this work as well, donating many of the wheelchair parts and supplies which makes it much more affordable to build so we can provide pediatric wheelchairs to  as many children as possible. “We are so grateful for the warm welcome given to Branson Cares by your local show and theatre industry. Nowhere else in America would this have taken hold so quickly and been so eagerly fulfilled. Branson, Missouri is truly a city that cares!”
    Along with BAAMT, Branson’s Lodging Industry Association, Branson’s Chamber of Commerce, and several of Branson’s Aldermen are supporting the work to make Branson Cares an annual city-wide initiative. Next up is the planed annual fundraiser show called, “Branson Cares.” The show is on the books for a late Feb or early March production at the Branson Famous Theater on Hwy 165. 

    Nichols reiterated, “We have been working to include every Branson show and theater in this effort. BAAMT is inclusive. We support every local live ticketed show, every Branson theater and all of our music entities through curation, education and innovation. Most of our services are free to our shows and theaters. Another publishing of our 2022 Branson Show Guide just hit the streets to fill the pockets of our Ozark Mountain Christmas guests whom we hope to see back again in 2023. The 2023 Guide is now being assembled and will, once again, be offered free of charge to every member of our industry. Call 417-332-5338 or email for details on services offered by BAAMT.

    Finally, BAAMT Chairman Mabe again invites every ticketed Branson show, every one of Branson’s theaters to join us in the work to provide pediatric wheelchairs to children with disabilities around the world. Together, we can truly help these deserving kids, showing them and showing the world that Branson is a city that cares!

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