Christmas Fund online auctions exceed last year’s total
After over 1,000 bids from over 200 bidders, this year’s Richmond Christmas Fund online auction raised $ 46,611. Last year, the auction brought in $ 35,775.
While this year’s total was a record for the online format, this setting doesn’t generate the same level of excitement – and possible bidding wars – as the usual in-person event, according to Ed Gavsie, president of Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (which manages the fund annually). But with restrictions on the pandemic continuing, a decision was made in September to hold a second online auction.
The most popular items this year were restaurant gift certificates, all of which are at or near face value. A $ 100 credit for Steveston’s Little Mexico Cantina was actually 10% above face value, Gavsie adds. The highest single-value bid was $ 6,000 for a “Live Like a Billionaire” package, including a lavish stay at the city’s new Versante hotel.
Like every year, members of the Richmond community have come together to help make Christmas a little happier for their neighbors. With the exception of a small BC gambling grant, all other donations are purely the result of selfless donations.
“There has been no reluctance on the part of the Richmond community to support those in need,” said Gavsie. “That’s why we use the cut line in the logo: ‘Community is like family’. I think this is very appropriate for the Christmas Fund program.
And local businesses have also intensified. Summit Customs Brokers joined Manitoulin Transport to donate $ 10,000, as well as sponsor the Immersion Tank where Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng took the plunge at the end last month. The RCMP’s seventh annual toy drive more than doubled the total cash donations from previous years, in addition to filling a cubic van with about 1.5 tonnes of toys.
Herbaland, Platinum Pro-Claim, TD Bank and the Richmond Auto Mall are among this year’s “angel donors”, each donating $ 10,000 or more. Other donors include Sage, who contributed $ 8,500 as well as sports equipment and staff time; and the Steveston Merchants Association, which, along with community member Doug Harder, raised a record-breaking $ 1,665 on the Classic Car Christmas Cruise.
The annual fund is supported by a team of core volunteers who help with registration, prepare packages for families, set up and take down the toy room, and transport the toys, among other tasks. The volunteer group includes high school students who help sort out toy donations after school.
In total, more than 2,300 people have been helped this year, with the final total to come. Of the many programs offered by Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives, Gavsie finds the Christmas Fund the most satisfying.
“When we do the distributions, I see the parents and I get the thanks. It’s more than thanks, it’s total gratitude from the people who say “Without this program my kids wouldn’t have toys” or “Without this Christmas fund my family couldn’t afford. to prepare a good Christmas meal. It gives me great satisfaction to be able to provide help to everyone who needs help in our community.
This year’s Christmas Fund also marks the last for President Wayne Duzita, who is stepping down after 15 years. Longtime MP and seasoned community leader Linda Reid will take over next year, when Gavsie hopes the team can resume their usual in-person registration and distribution process. The Christmas Fund will also celebrate 90 years of giving in 2022.