PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle Rotary Club is gearing up for its annual live auction that aims to help six community nonprofit organizations receive funds for yearly projects and programs.
This year marks the 71st annual Rotary Auction, which will air live on WAGM-TV’s Fox affiliate station on Saturday, Nov. 24, from noon to 6 p.m., and the first time that the Rotary Club has made select items available online at https://www.greggauctions.com/ now through Dec. 2. The Presque Isle ATV Club, Hope and Justice Project, Presque Isle High School Athletic Boosters, Friends of Aroostook, Grace Interfaith Food Table and United Way of Aroostook will benefit from proceeds raised through both auctions.
Last year the live TV auction raised $40,000, which Rotary Club President Jason Parent said is typically the club’s goal. Every spring, the Rotary invites nonprofit organizations to submit applications and club members select auction recipients based on their requested amount of funds, budgets and project needs.
The United Way of Aroostook will receive funds to expand its free tax preparation program while the PIHS Athletic Boosters will look to make repairs at the Gehrig T. Johnson Athletic Complex. The Presque Isle ATV Club will seek to purchase new trail maintenance equipment. Presque Isle-based Grace Interfaith Food Table and Houlton-based Friends of Aroostook will each receive funds to help combat food insecurity while the Hope and Justice Project will use proceeds to assist victims of domestic violence.
Two-hundred and twenty-eight items will be featured during the TV auction while more than 200 more items are only available online. Among the most valuable online items is a $500 Honda snowblower. Both the online and TV auctions will feature items such as gift certificates to local businesses and restaurants and family passes to next year’s Anah Temple Shrine Circus in Presque Isle. The online auction also features items from Wintergreen Arts Center’s CHAIR-ity auction.
“The [Rotary] auction itself has evolved over time from being a radio and TV auction to having a physical store at the mall last year and now with online bidding,” Parent said. The online aspect of the auction replaces last year’s Rotary auction store, which was located at the Aroostook Centre Mall.
During the live auction next Saturday, members of the Presque Isle Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs also will showcase their community fundraising project for 2018: the newly established Children’s Advocacy Center in Fort Fairfield. The Aroostook Mental Health Center operates the CAC, which provides services and support to children and adults with developmental disabilities who are survivors of sexual abuse.
Although the CAC is not one of the official recipients of the Rotary Auction proceeds, the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs have collaborated throughout the year to raise funds for the center, $25,000 of which was raised through the annual Kiwanis Gala. Folks will have a chance to pledge donations to the CAC during various times throughout the Rotary auction.
Members from both the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs will be on hand to handle phone calls from community members during the live auction at the WAGM-TV station. Parent noted that this is the second year that both clubs have collaborated on the auction and community project, as they helped raise funds for the new playground on Riverside Drive in Presque Isle throughout much of 2017 and 2018.
“When we collaborate, that makes both organizations stronger, but more importantly it makes our community much stronger,” Parent said.
Over the years, the Rotary Auction has helped raise millions of dollars in funds for organizations such as the Presque Isle Snowmobile Club, Homeless Services of Aroostook, Central Aroostook Association and United Way of Aroostook.
Folks can bid on items during the live TV auction by calling (207) 554-5153 and the online items will remain available until 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2, at https://www.greggauctions.com/. For more information about the auction, contact Rotary Auction Chair Clint Deschene at email@example.com.