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Lots of winners at Rotary auction

The REACH Cold Weather Shelter is among the local beneficiaries of the Community Auction.

The REACH Cold Weather Shelter is among the local beneficiaries of the Community Auction.

November 11, 2002|BY MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

REACH Executive Director Terri Baker was more than happy to walk around from table to table Sunday night, showing prospective bidders what they might want to spend their money on during the first Community Auction sponsored by Hagerstown Sunrise Rotary.

Her agency was one of six that benefited from the fruits of the auctions and raffles at the Four Points Sheraton.

Proceeds from Sunday's auction will help offset the expenses of what promises to be a bumper year for the REACH Cold Weather Shelter if the numbers for the first two weeks of operation are any indication, Baker said.

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"Our numbers are up, probably because this year it has been colder and wetter than last year," she said. "While we are averaging about 30 people a night, we have had as many as 41 people on a couple of nights."

That many people can tax the facilities of the smaller churches, Baker said.

She is somewhat concerned but added that the cooperation between agencies is what keeps things running as smoothly as possible. And benefits like Sunday's auction go a long way toward helping people.

"We're in this together with the same goal - keeping people safe and warm," Baker said.

Also on the list to benefit from Sunday's auction are The Community Free Clinic, Habitat for Humanity, Food Resources Inc., PolioPlus and the Sunrise Rotary Foundation.

"The idea of an auction was one that was suggested when we were planning a benefit," said Tory Van Reenen, member of the Sunrise Rotary Club and chairwoman of the event.

And with more than 50 items in the live auction and 115 in the silent auction, the support was substantial.

"The community has been very generous," Baker said.

John Christy, director of Food Resources Inc., remarked that the auction was a great new resource for his agency, which stockpiles food to supply many nonprofit groups in the community in their work with the underprivileged.

"And there is also the bonus of visibility for us at a function like this," Christy said.

The Community Free Clinic is another agency where volume is always going up. Executive Director Jeff Downin said Sunday that having another new source of income is always appreciated.

One of more enthusiastic bidders during the early stages of the live auction, Dr. John Newby, said his high-spirited zeal was just his way of showing support for the Rotary Club, which counts his wife, Mary, as one of its members.

Before the first "Sold!" was heard in the room, Newby said he planned only to bid on a wine gift basket and possibly two acrylic paintings for his office.

But when the action began, Newby ended up bidding on - and buying - the first two items up for sale. One was for 50 pieces of chicken while the other was a year's membership at a fitness club.

"I'll give the chicken to my laboratory staff," Newby said with a smile.

REACH stands for Religious Efforts to Assist and Care for the Homeless.

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