The Strathmore Lions Club is holding its 34th annual auction online to secure funding for community projects.
Normally the Lions hold a live auction at the Strathmore Civic Centre. But this year’s auction will be an online auction, starting April 16, with bidding closing April 23. So far, about 95 items are ready to be auctioned.
The event is one of the most important fundraising events for the charity. Over 33 years, it has raised $943,000 for community initiatives via the auction, equalling almost $28,000 per year.
“We hope this will help bring in some funding, so we can put that money back into the community,” said Mike Scott, Strathmore Lions Club president.
The club has led many large projects throughout town. These include the skating rink at the ag grounds, the splash park at Kinsmen Park and the new pedestrian bridge over George Freeman Trail.
But the Lions also respond to smaller needs.
“If somebody is in need, then we’re there to help those people out,” said Scott. “We sit down and discuss to see if it’s something that works for the group and goes with our guidelines, and we choose accordingly.”
The auction is now in the donation phase, with members collecting items from private sponsors and businesses, explained Dale Hauck, one of the club organizers.
“We’re finding out how many businesses are closed due to COVID,” he said, adding the deadline for donations is April 5.
The auction will be conducted by Premier Auctions. While this is the first time the group has held their auction online, the Standard Lions Club proved that approach can be a success.
“They made very good money on it,” said Hauck.
Last year’s auction was cancelled altogether because of COVID-19, and the Strathmore club’s activities remain hampered by the pandemic.
“We couldn’t do anything when it came down to it,” said Smith. “There’s a lot of people hesitant to interact face-to-face, so it’s been tough.”
The Lions are also hoping this year’s Strathmore rodeo will proceed, as it is the organization’s other major fundraising event. But to raise funds for community projects, the club has organized other initiatives, including bottle drives, box socials and walk-a-thons.
Scott said it might take some time before the club is back to normal. But with more people getting vaccinated, there is some hope on the horizon.
Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times