Auction brings over $193,000 for Linn Lutheran | News from the secondary roads
PALMER — Despite the use of a wide variety of restrictive security measures developed by organizers of the annual Linn Lutheran School Endowment Auction fundraiser, the Nov. 21 event raised a record high of $193,037 at last count, far surpassing last year’s record of $111,937. The success of the event showed that public events can be held in enclosed spaces if significant security measures are in place.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been talk of postponing or drastically changing the fundraising event this year, even though the event has raised an average of $110,000 in each of the past five years.
But after approving the implementation of changes to reduce the size and attendance of the crowd, the decision was made to go ahead with the auction which helps to increase the endowment fund of the parish school.
Crowd size in the Palmer Community Building was an initial concern, but this year students were not allowed to attend the event, which opened up a lot of space. Elderly people and people with health conditions have been specifically advised not to attend this year’s event for their own safety.
The event always includes a buffet meal, which draws a large crowd at mealtime. But this year, meal orders were prepared by volunteers to reduce contact with serving utensils, and the service team also offered meals in take-out containers so people could take orders and bring back home.
During mealtime when the whole building was traditionally packed with people, this year’s crowd was around 25% of a typical year, with plenty of room for everyone to spread out.
A silent auction in a smaller room in the building had extended hours so that crowds were never congested in that room.
Masks were worn and sanitary practices were used to prevent any potential spread of germs.
When the live auction started, which is the main fundraising element of the event, a new volunteer auctioneer took the reins – Randy Hiltgen, a COVID survivor, was able to conduct the auction without a mask as it was not at risk and did not put visitors at risk of spreading COVID. The auction included a wide variety of products, merchandise and services donated by the community.
The event did not cause a cluster of COVID cases, even though it took place the weekend before Thanksgiving. The organizers were very grateful for the outpouring of community support for the Linn Lutheran School.