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Habitat raises money amid indoor 'fun in the sun'

April 28, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • Suzie Menard of Hagerstown, left, member of the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity of Washington County and Vicki Blevins of Fairfield smile while looking at a whimsical fan shaped like a cat, one of many silent auction items at the 19th annual Habitat for Humanity Dinner and Auction at Hagerstown Community College's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center on Saturday.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

At the annual Habitat for Humanity dinner auction, the competition to eat first stimulates the flow of fundraising revenue.

A $45 ticket was enough to get in the door this year at Hagerstown Community College’s Athletic, Recreation, and Community Center.

But those who wanted to get their buffet-style meals before everyone else paid extra for the privilege. The winning bid was in the $600 range.

The right to be second, third and fourth added a total of $1,400 more to Habitat’s proceeds for the evening.

Sherry Brown Cooper, executive director of Washington County’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, said the annual dinner auction at Hagerstown Community College could take in roughly $60,000 to support the group’s work.

About 375 people attended.

This year, the chapter has plenty planned — building two new houses and rehabilitating four others, all in the city of Hagerstown, she said.

That’s a bump in activity from last year, when the Habitat chapter worked on two-and-a-half homes, she said.

Brown Cooper said the need for affordable housing keeps growing as the economy continues to take its toll.

Citi, a longtime Habitat for Humanity partner, also tries to help the community and see that people’s most basic needs are met, said Cassandra Latimer, a Citi employee and president of the local Habitat board.

As a top, or “event,” sponsor, Citi donated $4,000 for the dinner fundraiser, according to the program.

Citi employees also volunteer on Habitat building projects, Latimer said.

The Jefferson House Builders Inc. and Churchey Group II LLC, as a Diamond sponsor, was next with $2,500.

Wes and Tricia Churchey said they’ve been to almost all of the 19 Habitat dinner auctions and donate supplies for Habitat building projects.

In the evening’s silent auction, the Churcheys bid on a Hess truck and Latimer tried for a children’s package that included a trip to a science center.

Scores of other prizes covered tables ringing the ARCC’s track. They included a basket of 12 specialty beers, tickets to Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles games, an electric smoker and grill, and a weeping cherry tree.

A live auction at the end of the night featured a five-night trip to Costa Rica, as well as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia travel packages and a gas grill.

This year’s theme was a “Fun in the Sun” beach party.

Pina colada dip sat in a plastic beach bucket.

Sand was sprinkled in the middle of tables where people ate.

Even the roasted pigs that were part of the meal were decorated accordingly — with sunglasses.

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