Slow start to L-Istrina as political turmoil overshadows generosity

The annual charity telethon L-Istrina kicks off to a slow start as hosts ask people not to allow political turmoil to stifle generosity

L-Istrina kicked off to a slow start despite repeated appeals for people to put political turmoil aside and be generous
L-Istrina kicked off to a slow start despite repeated appeals for people to put political turmoil aside and be generous

L-Istrina appears to have kicked off to a slow start as the annual charity telethon takes place under a heavy cloud of political turmoil.

At the time of writing, just past three hours into the event, the telethon collected €1.4 million. The sum is on the low side when compared to last year, when more than €1 million had been collected in the first two hours alone.

Last year’s sum topped €7 million, setting a new record. L-Istrina runs until midnight.

The slow start has prompted the hosts to call on people and businesses not to allow the political turmoil to stifle generosity.

The appeals are a reflection of President George Vella’s opening statement in which he said the sick did not choose when to need help and urged people to donate to the Community Chest Fund Foundation.

L-Istrina is being televised on TVM and the political party stations, ONE and NET. However, this year’s event is a toned-down version of previous editions with very little entertainment and so far, no politicians in costumes dancing and singing.

In the wake of developments in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case that have rocked the Office of the Prime Minister, there had been calls for the postponement of L-Istrina.

The murder developments prompted Joseph Muscat to announce his resignation in January as the country witnessed numerous protests calling for the Prime Minister’s immediate departure.

The heavy atmosphere was acknowledged by the President in his Republic Day speech. “This is not an easy hour. However, we have to live through it. Our duty is to ensure that this anguish leads to the discovery and outing of the whole truth,” Vella had said of the Caruana Galizia murder.

But the President insisted there was no sense to postpone L-Istrina, which is a major cash lifeline for the Community Chest Fund that helps support people in need.

The turmoil has had a negative impact on businesses and consumer spending. A survey conducted by the GRTU a fortnight ago, found that 60% of businesses represented by the organisation had sustained lower sales this year as a result of the political upheaval.

People who want to donate can call:

5190 2030 to donate €50

5180 2012 to donate €25.

SMS to 5061 9201 to donate €11.65.

Other pledges can be communicated on 21262626.

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