Morinville – Despite the poor weather, Coach’s Corner on 100 Street was packed Saturday night for the16th Annual Santa Store Charity Auction. The Midstream Support Society fundraising event, once again presided over by auctioneer Brad Ward, raised with more than $22,765, beating out last year’s record of $22,038.
The evening’s total included $4,925 in cash donations received prior to the auction, $4,000 of that came from the Morinville & District Agricultural Society. Some of the top auction items drew plenty of bids. Green Bean Chef doug Adsit’s Your Own Personal Chef dinner for eight went for $800. A 30-minute helicopter tour for four and a Wayne Gretzky shadow box both drew bids topping out at $575.
Councillor Barry Turner, who provided some remarks at the start of the auction, expressed the importance of the event. “This is an extremely worthwhile cause,” he said. “It allows the Midstream Support Society to purchase Christmas gifts for the less fortunate and you can get your Christmas shopping done. There are lots of items that would look good under the tree.”
Volunteers key to events success
The event has come a long way in 16 years. Auctioneer Brad Ward said the first auction had no sponsors at all. Funds were raised by a bunch of people that got together and sold off some promotional items from the bar, everything from banners to oversized bottles of alcohol. That event raised more than $3,000. Since the initial event, the annual auction has been held at the same location each year with two exceptions.
But wherever the auction is held, the reason is always the same, getting together to help those in need. “The money raised goes towards the Santa Store, Christmas party for the less fortunate, and people in dire need,” said Midstream Support Society volunteer Joyce Preeper, who has volunteered alongside Helen Hupe and Linda Krauskopf since the event began.
Other volunteers include Tina Gougeon, one of the Committee members that help make the auction happen. She has volunteered since 2007 and her husband Pete has volunteered for 15 of the 16 years. Charity Auction Committee volunteers Deb and Bob Kruger have also been with the auction for 15 years. Malinda Northcott has been with the auction since its inception, beginning at the age of 13.
Above right: Morinville Town Councillor Barry Turner looks over the more than 100 lots of items up for bid at the 16th Annual Santa Store Charity Auction held Saturday at Coach’s Corner. Below: Tina Gougeon, one of the Charity Auction volunteers, with the large moose that was up for auction.