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The cast of Christmas Wonderland at the King’s Castle Theatre showcasing their support of Red Bucket Week.

Branson Cares inaugural Red Bucket Week has been deemed a success after raising more than $14,000 the week of Nov. 14 to Nov. 20. 

Benefiting Hope Haven International, which builds and donates pediatric wheelchairs for children with disabilities around the world, Red Bucket Week was successfully executed due to the efforts of 13 Branson Theaters raising a total of $14,035.64.

Started in October of 2021, Branson Cares is a joint effort between Branson’s Music, Live Show and Theatre Industry, the Branson Academy for the Advancement of Music and Theatre, and Hope Haven International. 

“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,” BAAMT President Bob Nichols said. “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.”

Alongside the 13 Branson theaters, Branson Cares is also supported by 13 Branson theaters, 29 hotels and motels, numerous restaurants, retail locations and two of Branson’s shopping malls. Nichols said that since the roll out, enough funding has been collected in Branson to build 102 specially built wheelchairs for children. 

BAAMT Chairman and Branson Famous Baldknobbers Entertainer Brandon Mabe shared 100% of the funds raised in Branson go toward the building, delivering and custom fitting these wheelchairs for children. 

“All of our overhead expenses are paid by our partner/benefactor, Hope Haven. Wheelchairs from our first year’s actions will be delivered to homebound children in Mexico this February,” Mabe said. “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.

“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.” 

The next Branson Cares fundraiser will be a benefit show at the Branson Famous Theater in late February or early March. 

Shows and Theaters who participated in the 2022 effort and will be invited to perform in the 2023 show include: All Hands on Deck Show!, Anthems of Rock, Branson’s Christmas Wonderland, Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers, Branson Famous Theater, Branson Murder Mystery Theater, The Copeland, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater, Dutton’s Theater, The Duttons, Freedom Encounter, Grand Country Music Hall, Grand Jubilee, Hughes Brothers’ Theater, Legends in Concert, Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre, Hughes Brothers Theater, Kings Castle Theatre, The Hits Starring David Brooks, The Mansion Theatre for the Performing Arts, New Jersey Nights, The Tower Theater at the Meadows and Yakov’s Theatre.

For additional information call 417-332-5338 or email Nichols at bnichols@baamt.org.

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