Sunshiny Day/Rotary Club Holds Benefit Community Auction

by Nathan Oravec

On Sunday, November 10, the Hagerstown Sunrise Rotary will hold its first annual Community Auction at Hagerstown’s Sheraton Four Points, and following the final, definitive clap of a gavel and a bellow of “Sold,” Washington County will begin a new week stronger than it was the day before.

According to Event Chair Tory VanReenen, a desire for rotary growth served as the impetus for “The Sun Rises Over Rotary Auction.”

“We’re a young foundation,” she says. “We wanted to enhance our local Sunrise Rotary foundation program in order to more constantly support local needs.”

At a local level, Rotary assists several different community organizations and non-profits. Internationally, in 1985, Rotary launched PolioPlus, one of the most ambitious humanity programs ever undertaken by a private sector organization.

In addition to benefiting the Sunrise Rotary Foundation and the PolioPlus project, the auction will raise funds for four community organizations - The Community Free Clinic, REACH Caregivers, Food Resources, and Habitat for Humanity - each in its own way working continuously to strengthen and improve the community.

Whether the Clinic’s purpose of providing primary health care to the medically uninsured; Habitat for Humanity’s “hand-up, not a hand-out” policy for helping new homeowners; crucial crisis intervention provided by REACH Caregivers; or Food Resources’ efforts to help end hunger; each organization has dedicated itself to helping those in need. The Sunrise Rotary Auction, then, is simply helping to give back.

While VanReenen’s “dream team,” a planning committee sixteen-strong, certainly got the ball rolling, she stresses that the event, consisting of both a live and silent auction, as well as a raffle for three beautiful Oriental rugs, has been a collaborative effort on the behalf of all involved. Auction items, including the everyday and obscure, were contributed by all parties, including individual and corporate contributors, rotary members, and the benefit organizations themselves.

“All of the benefit organizations have been strong participants in the auction - selling tickets, gathering auction items, and participating as volunteers,” she says. “Each will also have a table present at the auction, representing themselves and [the work that they do.]”

In addition to the overall proceeds from the event, she continues, “each organization will be able to pick one item that they have donated, and 100% of what it sells for will be theirs.”

Over 100 items were donated for the silent auction, ranging from flower arrangements and exotic rugs to a six month supply of homemade pastries, Blues Fest 2003 passes, an in-home professional massage for two, five nights boarding for a pet, and a canoe trip on the Potomac. More than 50 items comprise the impressive live auction roster, including oil paintings, fitness club memberships, four Orioles tickets in the ownership suite, a framed photo of Johnny Unitas, a weekend for four at a waterfront home in Chincoteague, and a ring from the “Tuileries” Collection.

“We’ve had magnificent contributions from club members, the community organizations and even other rotary groups,” says VanReenen. The involvement of other rotary groups from the Hagerstown area, she adds, is something that bodes well for future auctions. “Hopefully this will grow and prosper into a united event [between all rotary groups], which will further magnify the funds raised to support many community projects and PolioPlus.”

The first annual “The Sun Rises Over Rotary” Auction will be held on Sunday, November 10 at the Sheraton Four Points in Hagerstown from 4-9:30 p.m. Event tickets are $25 each or $175 per table of eight, and includes a buffet dinner. Three Oriental rugs, with an overall value of $5,465, will be raffled off, with three chances to win. Tickets for the raffle are $5 each or five for twenty. Raffle ticket-holders do not have to be present to win.

Auction and raffle tickets are currently being sold throughout the Hagerstown area. “We hope to sell them all,” says VanReenen, proud of the auction’s potential to help make a difference. “This is really an incredible event.”

Tickets are available from any Sunrise Rotarian or from any of the benefit organizations:

* The Community Free Clinic - 18 W. Franklin Street, Hagerstown, MD - 301-733-9234

* Habitat for Humanity of Washington County - 20 S. Prospect Street, Hagerstown - 301-791-9009

* REACH Caregivers - 13315 Highlane Street, Hagerstown - 301-733-2371

* Food Resources - 220 Mcrand Court, Hagerstown - 301-733-4002

For additional information, contact Bryan Kenworthy, Gerald Minnich Funeral Home, at 301-739-1414.