We Did it Together: Keeping it Kindled! Surpasses Fundraising Goal!

by Barbara Drew, Co-chair, Auction Committee

UUCWC’s fourth online auction “Keeping it Kindled!” was a very successful event as a fun-raiser and fundraiser, from the kick-off party to the lively and competitive bidding on several items just before the close at 9 pm on May 6. Having a targeted amount of $31,050 for our annual operating budget, we are pleased to announce that we surpassed that goal by approximately $6000, enabling a substantial contribution to a social justice organization. Since 2019, the Council for Faith in Action has designated a social justice organization to receive 50% of any surplus funds, in accordance with a congregational vote authorizing this procedure. The recipient of this year’s surplus funds is Snipes Farms

Baby goats, Shepherd’s Pie and Santa Claus may not sound like they have something in common but they do – they all were offers for services or events in our auction!  Not just a fundraiser, Auction 2023 provided many opportunities for connecting with other UUCWC members through hosted events such as “Feed the Baby Goats,” offered by new members Karen and Andy Damato and the annual favorite of “Here Comes Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, too,” offered by Roger and Lynda Shapiro.  Specialty and custom prepared foods are also popular items in our annual auctions, and Bonnie Ruekgauer’s Shepherd’s Pie is just one delicious example. With over 260 generous and interesting offerings for skilled services, meals and items, our congregants demonstrated the “warmth of community.”

After three years without an in-person gathering, our April 28th Kick-off Party proved to be a fun evening for almost 100 congregants who enjoyed the professional jazzy music of Elijah Coles and Chris Oatts while noshing on delectable hors d’oeuvres such as Salmon or Spicy Black Bean & Sweet Potato Sliders provided by Mike Muccioli and his kitchen crew. Our trio of bartenders (Ron Iannacone, Bud Johnson and Lee Schofer) earned tips by telling jokes to thirsty patrons.  While enjoying delicious desserts, everyone had a chance to browse the showcase of over fifty unique and interesting items in the Sanctuary, even though our online auction had professional and spectacular graphics for every single item!

We were fortunate to have a surprise visit from Santa Claus, who served as our Emcee. Lucky Nicole Robinson won the door prize Kindle, and Kathie Chaikin, Steve Saddlemire and Patricia Mikes won the themed Raffle Baskets: Light of Truth, Warmth of Community and Fire of Commitment!  The special hanging and table-top chalice decorations made by Karen Scheick were also raffled off! (The large chalice with flickering candlelight which is still gracing our dais was artfully crafted by Sue Busch.)  Roger Shapiro/Santa also served as our pop-up Auctioneer for two watches that might otherwise have been in the Boutique. Through Roger Shapiro’s skillful auctioneering, we raised over $200!

Speaking of the Boutique, Mrs. Claus, er Lynda Shapiro and her team, organized and ran the popular Boutique not just once, but three times.  A special benefit of the Boutique is having any unsold items available for HomeFront children to select gifts for Mother’s Day.

Each year we are amazed by the imaginative offerings, the participation of our members as well as the support of our many team members. This year, we acknowledge the many newer members who served on the Auction Team (Kelly Benson, Belinda Seiger) and generously offered services (Margaret Bar-Akiva, Karen & Andy Damato, Joseph Goldfedder, Brian Tucker, Patricia Mikes, Belinda Seiger), and several Ministry teams who pooled resources and provided items reflective of their mission: Earth & Climate, Faith Action, Food and Racial Justice.

Together, we will enjoy the many auction offerings throughout the year: skilled services, workshops, cultural outings, meals, hand-made items or custom-made foods, all of which will be keeping us kindled until we meet again next spring for our annual auction. Thank you to all who participated in making the Kick-off Party and online auction so successful!

Barbara Drew, Jayme Trott, Lori O’Neil & Marcia Wittmann, Co-chairs