There’s more than just goods on the block

Plenty of good­will on dis­play at char­ity quilt auc­tion that’s a ma­jor fundraiser for Elmira District Com­mu­nity Liv­ing

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - FAISAL ALI

AN ELMIRA NON-PROFIT THAT pro­vides ser­vices for res­i­dents with in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties now has an ad­di­tional $100,000 for its work thanks to last week­end’s char­ity quilt auc­tion.

It’s the third straight year the pop­u­lar event has topped six fig­ures in its fundrais­ing ef­forts for Elmira District Com­mu­nity Liv­ing (EDCL).

The auc­tion has been a sig­nif­i­cant gen­er­a­tor of funds for the or­ga­ni­za­tion for 44 years.

Fi­nal num­bers from last week­end are still be­ing tal­lied, but there was a strong turnout to bid on the dozens of quilts, fur­ni­ture, home­made desserts, toys, and a wealth of other new and used items on of­fer, noted Elmer Brubacher, one of the or­ga­niz­ers.

He said the ef­fort re­lies on pro­fes­sional auc­tion­eers, clerks and a host of other peo­ple vol­un­teer­ing their time to sup­port EDCL.

While the agency re­ceives a base­line level of sup­port for its work as­sist­ing peo­ple with in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties and pro­vid­ing them hous­ing, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has re­lied on the an­nual char­ity auc­tion for years to aug­ment its bud­get.

“We would be a mere shadow of our­selves with­out the work that the quilt auc­tion does and the money that it gen­er­ates and pro­vides,” said ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Greg Bechard.

The money raised has gone to­wards the pur­chase of wheel­chair-ac­ces­si­ble vans, for in­stance, which Bechard ex­plains isn’t cov­ered by their gov­ern­ment stipend. The vans are what let many of the peo­ple sup­ported by EDCL get out into the com­mu­nity. Be­sides that, main­te­nance work on the EDCL’s group homes, are an­other ex­pense not of­ten cov­ered by the gov­ern­ment, he added.

“It as­sists with send­ing peo­ple to sum­mer camp. The peo­ple we sup­port live on a pen­sion and so don’t have a lot of ex­cess money, and so we as­sist peo­ple with camps,” said Bechard of the ex­tras the money sup­ports.

“We buy spe­cial equip­ment for our homes, lift­ing de­vices, spe­cialty bathing equip­ment. We do larger ren­o­va­tions, we put ad­di­tions on some of our homes – and again, with no fund­ing from the gov­ern­ment of On­tario, so it en­hances the qual­ity of life for the peo­ple that we sup­port.”

Bechard also em­pha­sized that none of the money raised would go to­wards pay­ing staff salaries – the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the char­ity are the EDCL ten­ants.

The auc­tion­eer­ing was spread out over two days, with the silent auc­tion start­ing Fri- day. Also Fri­day evening was the BBQ beef brisket din­ner, as well as an open mar­ket of home-made, lo­cally grown food­stuffs.

The silent auc­tion was set up mostly for mis­cel­la­neous items such as toys, sports equip­ment and other trea­sures, but keen eyes could also browse the 100 or so quilts up for live auc­tion the fol­low­ing day, as well as the do­nated fur­ni­ture.

Start­ing Satur­day morn­ing, the auc­tions be­gan at the Elmira Pro­duce Auc­tion Co­op­er­a­tive, first with the gen­eral goods, then the fur­ni­ture and, fi­nally, the quilts them­selves, which, it’s fair to say, were in high de­mand. Some of the quilts went for as high $1,450, said Brubacher.

Not to be out­done, the desserts pulled more than their fair share at the auc­tion. In be­tween each lot of quilts, a pie was up for auc­tion just for a bit of fun, he said. That ef­fort raised about $4,000.

“We had one pie that was re­do­nated three times, so it was sold four times,” notes Brucbacher. “That pie prob­a­bly sold for $1,200-$1,300 to­tal.”

While the char­ity is held to raise funds for the EDCL, the event it­self is or­ga­nized by a small group of vol­un­teers on an auc­tion com­mit­tee. Brubacher is the co-chair for this year’s com­mit­tee, along with his wife Mary, as is cus­tom­ary for the chairs. He has been in­volved in the EDCL’s work with the in­tel­lec­tu­ally dis­abled for years.

“I guess my heart goes out to those peo­ple, and that’s the only thing that keeps us on this com­mit­tee. That’s the only thing that keeps us on that chair. I guess we’re here to try and raise as many funds as we can,” he said be­fore the event.

“About 20 years ago we got in­volved with help­ing out at this auc­tion, and then I was se­lected to come on to the EDCL board. So I served on the board for six years for the EDCL, and in that time we were asked to come on to the com­mit­tee.

“Two years ago, for the first time, we raised over $100,000 in about 24 hours,” he said, though not­ing that some cash do­na­tions were re­ceived be­fore and af­ter the event. That $100,000 fig­ure was sur­passed again last year, and the hope is to con­tinue that trend.

For Bechard, the suc­cess of the auc­tion is proof of the lo­cal com­mu­nity’s good­will.

“The gen­eros­ity and the hard work of the com­mit­tee and the vol­un­teers and the gen­eros­ity of the com­mu­nity to sup­port us his­tor­i­cally and right through to to­day is amaz­ing. I’ve never seen any­thing like it in any com­mu­nity I’ve worked in,” he said.


The 44th Elmira Char­ity Quilt Auc­tion held over the week­end raised more than $100,000 for Elmira District Com­mu­nity Liv­ing .

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