My son's small Christian school does several fundraisers throughout the year. We have the green and yellow recycling bins where people can drop their paper. We collect Box Tops. And we do two major fundraisers during the year - a field day in the fall and an auction in the spring.
We had our auction last week and had a fantastic time as usual.
The first year we were part of the school, I volunteered. It was a great way to learn how the event worked. The last few years we have chosen to host a table or two instead and invite friends outside the school to join us and be part of this place that is such a major part of our lives. It is an event we look forward to every year. We get to hang out with friends, get to know people better than we did before, and we help out a great cause.
As we were leaving the event this year, I stopped to talk to the woman who runs the logistics of the auction - entering bidder names and numbers into a database, cataloging items for bid, and generally coordinating the whole kit and kaboodle. She said the return is about the same as it is for something like a walk-a-thon with a lot more work, but it becomes an experience that people share together. They laugh together. They remember stories of previous years and items that went for a lot of money. The experience of the event what makes it special - the "family" coming together in a reunion of sorts.
I made enough of a spectacle of myself this year that we might be one of the stories told in future auctions. We have never won the classroom project for my son's class. Some years the bidding is over my budget before I can even get a hand on my bidder number. But not this year. I had a secret weapon - Dad. I had some Dad money set aside and I was determined to leave with the project this year. The poor woman I was bidding against had no idea of my determination. She was filling in for her sister who couldn't get to the event. The auctioneer was working her because no matter what he did, I accepted it. People around us, watching, we're laughing in disbelief, watching this poor woman who barely had time to take a breath before the bid was back to her try to decide how high her sister would want her to go.
The room mom who put together the project graciously intervened after this went on for awhile and offered a second identical package if we both wanted to accept it for the same amount. And we agreed. At the end, I went over to the woman who was still shaking her head. She had been texting her sister who thought she was kidding about how high the bidding had gone.
The other highlight of the night was when the principal jumped in to bid on a project. I knew the mother who had worked on it had chosen colors that would go in the principal's kitchen on purpose. She wanted this project. As the bidding went on, people started running over to her and handing her $20 bills to help her stay in the fight. Then other families started doing the same for the other bidder. It was so funny.
The auction itself was fun. The auctioneer was hilarious. I was successful in my quest to come home with the prize. But best of all was the experience of being with our school and church family, laughing and enjoying fellowship together.