Rotary auction not just about donations

Rotary president says the event brings the community together

The Burns Lake Rotary Club raised over $35

The Burns Lake Rotary Club raised over $35

The Burns Lake Rotary Club raised over $35,000 during their forty-eighth annual auction, rotary’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

But according to Laura Blackwell, rotary’s president, the money raised is just one of the positive aspects of the annual event.

Blackwell said the event is an opportunity to bring hundreds of community members together – either by donating items, volunteering or placing bids.

“It’s a fun two-night event because people love outbidding each other,” she said. “And it gets intense down there; when we’re just about to sell an item, a call comes in and we’re like, ‘Wait, we have another bidder.’

“For instance, an apple pie sold for $100, and it’s because people bid on it, and another person wants to outbid them, and it becomes a fun game,” she said.

Hundreds of items were donated for this year’s auction. One of the donations was a tour for four inside Rio Tinto’s Kitimat smelter, including transportation and accommodation. The estimated value of this donation by Rio Tinto was $2500.

VanTine’s Guiding Outfitting, Lakes District Air and Fishing and Pinnacle Renewable Energy also made a big donation worth $2650. The donation included a three-night accommodation and boat rentals at Pondosy Bay Wilderness Resort, in addition to flights in and out of the resort.

But apart from the big donations, Blackwell said it is the hundreds of smaller donations from community members that really make a difference.

“It’s people like Craig Armstrong, who donated the apple pie that sold for $100, and Janet Wilson, who donated five dozen buns that went for $150.”

Rotary volunteers had been collecting donation items since August.

“We worked really hard to collect donations, but it wouldn’t have been possible without so many people coming down and volunteering,” said Blackwell.

“We had volunteers answering phones, writing on the board, organizing the items, and this year we also had students coming to help,” she said. “People get really involved in this because it’s exciting.”

Blackwell added that the annual event is also an easy way for local seniors to shop from the comfort of their own homes.

“And I think it’s entertaining for them to listen to the auction [on the radio].”

The money raised will go toward projects that are intended to improve the lives of local residents.

“All the money we work so hard to raise we always put back into this community,” explained Blackwell.

This year, rotary spent approximately $20,000 on the cemetery revitalization project; in 2015, rotary resurfaced Burns Lake’s tennis courts.

Rotary has two other fundraisers currently taking place. One is the 2017 community calendar, which is being sold for the price of $10 at the Western Financial Group, at the Lakeview Mall. The second fundraiser is the Christmas raffle, in which the first prize is $1000 and the second prize is $500. Tickets can be purchased at Lakes District News.