Justin Bieber steps up for the Help Save Bethesda campaign
Help Save Bethesda-0512-sm
London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
Pop superstar Justin Bieber is reaching out to help save the Salvation Army’s Bethesda Centre, but nobody knows yet if the gesture will be enough.
During a media event on Saturday (May 12), members of Help Save Bethesda committee announced the singer would be donating a portion of the iTunes sales of his new single, Turn To You, to the $1.5 million campaign to save the centre for teen moms. Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette, is a former resident of the Bethesda Centre.
During the announcement, Jaimi Chambers, a spokesperson for the group, said there is no way of knowing what the total donation might be from the single or how quickly the money might come in.
The committee members suggested a timeline of eight or nine months is possible, which is why the group has asked Salvation Army to extend the campaign deadline. Although Salvation Army hasn't agreed to extend the deadline in the past, committee member Sarah Brooks said Help Save Bethesda is hoping that might change in light of Bieber's support.
Despite the uncertainty, however, Chambers said she was nonetheless thrilled by the superstar’s support.
“Nothing is going to happen immediately. There’s no question it is a huge boost, not only in terms of money, but also awareness,” Chambers said. “We have other events coming up too, we are going to continue to work. I’m shaking right now, I’m so excited and so thankful.”
The Bethesda Centre is a Salvation Army-run facility for teenage mothers that provides pre-natal care and daycare, as well as other supports. It was announcement on Feb. 1 that the centre’s doors would close on June 30. However, Salvation Army officials spoke out later in the month, giving the community a deadline of May 31 to raise $1.5 million to keep the centre open for the next three to five years.
To date, the committee has raised approximately $110,000.
The Help Save Bethesda members continued their efforts later on Saturday as they circulated Victoria Park to sell wristbands and sweatshirts. In addition, the group passed out free hugs during Saturday’s International Free Hug Day, in an effort to raise awareness for the campaign.
Seventeen-year-old Corey, whose mother is a former Bethesda resident, said she is excited about the pop star’s gesture.
“It’s a pretty big deal. My mom got into her education because of Bethesda, I was able to have a good life because of the help she got,” Corey said. “So I think this is a big deal. I always figured he (Bieber) would help, so hopefully this makes a big difference.”
Should the campaign fall short of its $1.5 million goal, Salvation Army has promised all donations would be return. In the case of Bieber, he has already indicated if the centre is closed he will shift his donation to other charities that support single moms.
To support the Help Save Bethesda campaign, visit www.savebethesda.org for more information.
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