Maplewood hosts ‘astounding’ live auction
November 19, 2013 — Michelle Strutzenberger
The night before Maplewood long-term care home’s inaugural live auction, Rachel Corkery dreamed the event had raised more than $5,000. Though she knew there was no way that would happen, the life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) headed into work that day energized to think this could be a good omen for the event.
She shared her dream at the home, which fuelled the energy of the day as final preparations for the auction took place.
In the end, the evening event went off in a way Corkery now describes as astounding.
“We’re still glowing, days later,” she says. “We’re still getting feedback from people that they had such a wonderful evening.”
The evening began with a silent auction and a chance to sample “absolutely delicious” desserts and hot drinks prepared and served by volunteers.
A local band, the Bordens, struck up a mix of bluegrass, classic rock and folk music. “They were wonderful,” says Corkery, noting the home plans to have the band back for a resident birthday party.
About 7 p.m., it was time for the live auction, which featured a mix of about 30 items — from artwork to baked goods to a spa day pass.
The room at that point was so full Corkery had to run and find extra chairs in residents’ rooms.
Then she stepped up to the podium to announce the one hiccup in the otherwise perfect evening — that the auctioneer they had planned to have join would be unable to participate — and that she, Corkery, would be taking his place.
Admittedly nervous beforehand, Corkery says she found herself quite at ease once she started the bidding. She’s now thinking that glitch may have contributed to the event’s success. “I think my inexperience as an auctioneer allowed for the prices to go up a little faster than they might have,” she says with a chuckle.
In total, the event raised, not $5,000, but close to $2,700, which, for a small long-term home in a small community is still very significant, says Corkery.
“It’s about double what we raise in a typical fundraising event.”
Glitch aside, she attributes the evening’s success in large part to a group of “hardworking, fabulous” volunteers.
“At Maplewood we’re very lucky,” she notes. “We have a lot of volunteers who are committed to Maplewood and making sure that no matter what we do, we’re successful at it. It’s almost like they own Maplewood too.”
In addition to the volunteers, there were many community members who attended and showed their support of the residents of Maplewood by bidding — sometimes surprisingly high — on items.
The event would also have not been possible without the contributions from local businesses for the auction, says Corkery, who is a strong advocate of shopping local and supporting local businesses.
Local businesses have consistently demonstrated their eagerness and willingness to support the long-term care home, as well as other similar organizations, she says. “We wouldn’t be able to do our fundraisers without them. I can’t speak highly enough about shopping local.”
All of this support — from the long-term care home, volunteers, community members and local businesses — demonstrates to residents that they’re valued members of the community, Corkery says.
“There are some unique qualities about being a small home in a small town,” she adds. “We don’t get lost in a big city; we don’t get lost in a big home
“Our community takes care of us and we do our best to take care of the community.”
All proceeds from the fundraising will be directed to the residents’ council. A portion will be used to enable all residents to participate in a variety of outings. Residents’ council also sponsors part of the highly anticipated annual Maplewood family/resident barbecue and resident birthday parties.
The hardworking volunteers of the night Corkery would like to recognize include: Marg Catney, Carol Leadbetter, BJ Brideau, Cindy Phillips, Ron Peppy, Robyn Dilworth, Marilyn Page and Marianne Muston.
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