Anyone who has been following my Facebook feed has been inundated in the last two weeks by reminders: get your tickets now! Here’s an awesome silent auction item – bid now! How about this one! I do sort of feel sorry for my friends when I get neck deep in a project/election/initiative. You’re all very patient.
This project was a big one – one of our friends needed to raise $15,000 to get her four year old son with autism a service dog. Upon hearing this news, one of my other friends (who is completely irrepressible and amazing) declared that we were throwing a party to help! Maybe we’d raise as much as $5 thousand dollars!
Things got completely out of hand at that point.
Somehow, we got branded as the “Stoneham Social Club”. (That sounds so official. Trust me – it’s not official.) We got a hall. Then we needed to get people to fill it. The moms in my group of moms (who have pretended at points to be a book club, but let’s be honest – we mostly hang out once a month and catch up while, um, drinking wine) knocked on the doors of practically every business in town. We hit up our friends. And somehow we got thousands of dollars of auction and raffle gifts donated.
We started meeting weekly, and our meetings had actual agendas. Craziness!
There was a live band. There was the cash bar. Tablecloths were the subject of a major crisis. Table decorations. Significant and long discussions happened regarding the methodology of raffles & how to run a simultaneous online & in person silent auction.
I was responsible for all digital media and the auctions. Since it just so happened our crazy crew included a top-notch graphic designer, I had some good materials to work with. I created a website, a Facebook page, an event. One of my friends came up with the genius idea of using Facebook commenting to run the simultaneous silent auction. I spent a lot of time trying to write clever text for the auction items.
It was a long run up. Tons of people worked so hard behind the scenes. People found donors. People put together amazing auction packages. People printed bid sheets.
But oh my goodness, folks. It was amazing. We hit capacity at the Elk’s Club. The live music was perfect. The auction table was crammed with great items, and already well into the bidding. The food was delicious. Desserts were delectable. Apparently we set a new record for cash bar sales at that venue. There was dancing, laughing, and deeply competitive bidding for a gallon of maple syrup. There were heartfelt speeches, and tears of joy and love.
And we did it. We raised $15,000 for David to get his dog. And then we kept on going. The final tallies are still being calculated, but it’s somewhere between 20 and $25k. The extra will go to help pay for the month the family of five will need to spend in Ohio training the dog, and for health and life insurance on the puppy.
It’s been a hard year for believing in the goodness of people. There’s been death, violence, anger and ugliness on every page of every news site. You don’t have to go far to feel sick to your stomach about humanity. But my experience these last two months has been the complete opposite. People have been so generous, and so kind. An astounding number of people have gone out of their way to be loving and helpful. Any time work was needed, a multitude of cheerful hands went up to help do it. I’d love to name all the folks who contributed, but I suspect that list would exceed 100 … and I don’t even know the full tally!
So thank you. Thank you to all of you who put up with my posts. Thank you to those of you who bid on items. Thank you to those who came out to support David’s family. Thank you to those who donated items, even though you’d never met the sweet kid they’ll help. Thank you for those who opened your checkbooks. Thank you to all of you who opened your hearts. You’re good people, and I’m proud to know you.
And man, I can’t wait for our next meeting, when I plan on being completely frivolous.