The 21st annual Playschool Talent Auction was held last weekend and organizers said that once again, people pulled together to support a worthy cause.
“It’s astonishing how many donations we get,” said co-organizer Angela Carter, adding that her house had been taken over by piles of items on offer last Saturday evening. “It’s amazing how much a small community like Hay River has to offer. We do this year after year and it just keeps getting better and better.”
The auction is the Playschool’s biggest fundraiser of the year with all the proceeds going to support the pre-school facility currently serving more than 30 children. Although the totals weren’t tallied for this year, the last auction raised between $45,000 and $50,000 in a single night.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into it,” said Carter. “But the support of everyone, including this business community makes it so worth it. People aren’t just taking regular items home. Sometimes it’s a handmade quilt that someone has spent a lot of time on, and that makes it pretty special.”
The talent part of the auction means that some of the items on the block aren’t items at all, but rather vouchers for future services. The promise of 200 jello-shots went for more than $1,000 Saturday night.
Carter was also quick to point out that some of the event’s donors aren’t even local businesses, include Northwestern Air Lease and WestJet, which both donate tickets each year. Despite worries that Hay River’s last-minute attitude would rob them of an audience, the auction drew a packed house at the community hall.
“All the funds we raise go to support the operations of the Playschool,” said Carter. “You can get government funding, but it never covers you 100 per cent and with expenses like any other building, plus providing snacks and craft materials for 30 kids, the costs add up quickly.”
With the GNWT’s plan to roll out junior kindergarten into all communities in the territory over the next three years, the Playschool might be facing some changes. Talent auction co-ordinator and Playschool parent Janie Hunt said that the Playschool is talking to the Hay River District Education Authority about the situation and what can be done.
“Junior kindergarten will definitely impact the Playschool,” she said. “But we’re hoping to come to a solution that works for everyone.”
Carter wasn’t too worried, having seen the support for the facility in the community year after year. She said the Playschool wouldn’t exist without the support of the community.
“It’s a well-known fundraiser for a truly great cause. It’s not just a fun evening out, we’re promoting a charity for children and it is something a bit different,” she said. “It’s truly about supporting our children.”