by Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – For the 16th consecutive year, Coach’s Corner will open its doors for the Annual Santa Store Auction on Nov. 16. The annual fundraising event for the Midstream Support Society’s Santa Store raised more than $22,038 last year for a community program that ensures low-income families are able to provide a Christmas for their children.
Auction Committee Chair Debra Kruger has been involved with the annual auction for the past 14 years and is taken aback each year because of the feeling she gets helping the community and the camaraderie of the committee itself. “It’s the feeling on the night when you know you’ve hit your goal, when you know we’ve helped our community and made Christmas better for a lot of kids,” she said.
Though last year was a record year for the auction, Kruger said the goal this year is once again a simple one. “The goal every year is to simply be able to provide children with an option of being able to get Christmas gifts and a party,” she said, adding the original goal was $5,000, enough to provide a Christmas party and provide a selection of gifts. “We surpassed that in the first few years, but anytime we hit the $5,000, it’s great. Anything from there is gravy. It gets better presents and gives a lot more children opportunities to attend the parties. It gets them a better Christmas.”
Kruger said the Auction Committee is made up of two separate entities: the Midstream Support Society and a committee of friends, family and people from throughout the community that help to make the auction happen. One of those volunteers, Malinda Northcott has volunteered with the auction since the age of 13 and has been with the auction since the beginning 16 years ago.
Auction items needed
Though the opening of the Midstream Support Society’s Santa Store is still just over a week away, the present focus of the committee is the upcoming auction and ensuring there are plenty of items for people to bid on.
Kruger said committee teams are already making the rounds looking for auction items from businesses and the public. The sky is the limit for auction items. Last year’s auction included purses made of candy wrappers and a five-course meal for eight prepared in the winners home by Chef Doug Adsit of the Green Bean and paired with wines provided by Laurence Giffin of Coach’s Corner. The latter auction item went for $1,250 last year.
Those interested in donating auction items can drop them off at Coach’s Corner on 100 Avenue or can contact the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything from hockey tickets to original artwork is welcomed. “Nothing is out of the question,” Kruger said, adding the committee even accepts cash donations to the cause.
Kruger is hoping people will once again support the auction with donations and attendance because of the important role the auction plays in funding the Midstream Support Society’s Santa Store. “I think communities need to take care of themselves,” she said. “I think this is important, especially for families, especially for children. What I like about the Morinville Santa Store is it is a two-way street. Yes, we get toys for kids, but there is also an opportunity for children to give back to their parents. It is just as important for a child to be able to say, ‘Mom, I got you this candle stick holder.’”
Registrations to bid start at 5 p.m. on Nov. 16; however, Kruger urges people to start arriving as early as 2 p.m. to get a seat. “If you are not here by 3 p.m., you don’t have a seat,” she said, adding Brad Ward would once again provide auction services. “It’s not only an auction, it’s entertainment. It’s fun, people get right into it. You really shouldn’t miss it.”