Rochester in Focus: Karen Iglesia working to bring families in need a great Thanksgiving

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — It’s nearly the season of giving thanks and giving to others.

Lynette Adams’s first guest on this week’s Rochester in Focus knows all about both.

Karen Iglesia is the founder of Primetime 585. She’s a celebrity to anyone connected to Section V sports because she covers the games on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and she’s everyone’s biggest cheerleader.

Iglesia launched a fundraiser challenging every Section V team to adopt a local family in need and give them the best possible Thanksgiving dinner.

This comes from the success of a similar effort last year when three weeks before Thanksgiving, Iglesia reached out on social media, asking people to donate food or money for Thanksgiving dinners.

Her efforts were so successful that she raised more than $1,300 and it landed her a spot on the Kelly Clarkson Show.

If you want to take part in this fundraiser you don’t have to be on a team, you can reach out to her on Twitter or email her at You can also donate on Venmo at @primetime585. It’s $70 to sponsor a family or $30 to sponsor a senior citizen.

When Iglesia decides she wants to tackle a project, watch out. She is a force to be reckoned with.

As of the middle of last week, she had 52 teams representing 18 sports taking part in the challenge and 153 families adopted, for a total of 890 people.

But she’s far from done. Her goal is 2,000 people.

Luckily, she doesn’t have to go it alone. Iglesia is a law enforcement enthusiast and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office are on board.

Iglesia says she’s reaching out to as many people as possible, and that the need is even greater this year than it was the last.

Adams spoke with her and one of those teams, which happens to be a team of one: A swimmer who’s taking on the challenge.

Cleo McDermott is 17. She’s a senior at East Rochester Junior-Senior High School, but since the school doesn’t have a swim team, she works with a coach from Penfield.

McDermott’s mother heard about Iglesia’s challenge and told her daughter about it. McDermott said yes without any hesitation.

She’s been swimming alone with no team for 10 years, so taking on this challenge was no big deal.

Watch the video in the player above to hear Adams’ conversations with Iglesia and McDermott.