More than 160 items have been donated to the fourth-annual Hay River Hospital Foundation’s online auction, with even more late donations on the way, according to foundation secretary Erin Griffiths.
“You can spend $10 or $10,000,” Griffiths told The Hub. “And funds raised go directly back into health care in Hay River.”
The auction has raised more than $50,000 in the past three years for the foundation, which helps support H.H. Williams Memorial Hospital with extra funding for life-saving equipment. After a bidding period stretching from Nov. 4-18, the items – now either scattered across town with various retailers or taking over Griffith’s office at the hospital – will be distributed to their new owners.
Hay River companies, such as Kingland Ford and Monster Recreational Products, have donated prizes, as have individual citizens, giving bidders a wide range of items from which to choose.
“It’s from cars to cupcakes,” said Evellyn Coleman, the auction’s co-ordinator. “Often the philosophy is that it’s something that people are going to buy anyway and they wait for this time of year so they can support their local health care system.”
The auction is one of two major fundraising drives for the foundation every year, the first being a charity golf tournament in the fall.
The foundation has been working for about a decade and Griffiths is confident that this year it will reach $1 million in total funds for all the years combined.
This is the first year that the foundation will partner with the Rotary Club of Hay River Sunrise to help run the auction, netting a Visa account to make purchasing items online even easier.
“The Rotary Club doesn’t really want to do more than about two big fundraisers a year, and, as that’s what we’re targeting, too, we thought it would be a good fit,” said Coleman. “Both groups have the same beliefs about sponsoring and supporting local causes.”
Griffiths added that many service clubs are having trouble recruiting new members and retaining current numbers, so partnerships with other community groups are beneficial.
Participants can sign up for the auction and check out the items on which they want to bid – identified with yellow stickers – at the retailers who have donated them.
“We really could never have done this without the support of the local businesses,” said Griffiths. “They’re the ones who really make this happen and who keep showing up to support us.”
For Diana Field, a co-owner of Joey’s Sweets and Things, supporting the Hay River Hospital Foundation and its auction just makes sense.
“We all benefit from the hospital and the foundation,” Field said. “This is just another way to give.”
— Sarah Ladik