Trinity Lutheran prepares for sixth annual We Care for Kids auction

REED CITY — Tickets are now on sale for the sixth annual We Care for Kids Auction supporting Trinity Lutheran School of Reed City.

The annual event, which helps support education and extra-curricular activities at the school, is set for Saturday, March 11, at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Big Rapids.

The doors open at 4:30 p.m. and there will be over 200 silent auction items to bid on prior to dinner, as well as a live auction.

“It’s a very fun and exciting night," said auction co-chair Rich Saladin. "Many attendees from the past say it’s one of the things they look forward to all year. Plus it supports a  great cause. We’d love to see new people and can’t wait to see our old friends too."

Silent auction items include gift certificates, small appliances, toys, hand made originals and a variety of theme baskets. There also will be games to play to win a KitchenAid mixer, an iPad Mini, multiple long guns and a .52 carat princess cut diamond from Rogers Jewelers of Big Rapids, Saladin said.

“The diamond from Rogers has been a huge success for our event," he said. "We set up a ‘Champagne and Ice’ display where you can purchase a glass of

champagne and have a chance to win the unset diamond valued at $1,500. There are only 75 glasses available and we always sell out."

Saladin said donations over the last six years have gotten better.

“We have lots family vacation getaways available including week-long trips to vacation homes in the Upper Peninsula and Florida, an overnight stay at Zehnder’s Splash Village and a signature Chicago getaway that includes passes for Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, architectural river cruise and food stops at Garrett’s Popcorn and Giordiano’s Pizza," he said.

Saladin added there are multiple couples’ getaways up for bid, including an overnight stay on Mackinac Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and a Sunset/Sunrise package. Another feature couples package is an overnight stay at Firekeepers Casino including a hot air balloon ride.

Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. and the live auction begins at 7:30 p.m. Auction activities conclude around 10, but there is music and cash bar until midnight.

Ronda Wallace, who also co-chairs the auction, has been involved since the first year.

“We have really streamlined our processes and have a great feel for what attendees like and will bid on,” she said. “The first year we had 119 attendees and raised just over $12,000. Last year we had 265 attendees and raised $40,000.

"Our goal this year is to welcome 300 attendees, which is our max, and raise at least $40,000 again. We certainly appreciate the support of our church and school families as well as the community. We have been blessed.”

Over the years, funds raised have gone to support education and extra-curricular activities, Wallace added.

“We’ve hosted special guests like children’s author Johnathan Rand. We’ve also brought in special musical talents and interactive science presentations. Technology enhancements have been provided by adding a 30-unit Chrome Cart, multiple iPads, classroom projectors with interactive capabilities and faster internet speeds.

"Curriculum has been supported through playground equipment, field trips, Accelerated Reader licenses and books, and even a newly implemented Dave Ramsey finance class for our fifth- through eighth-grade students," said Wallace. “No monies raised go toward salaries or overhead costs — it’s all about supporting and enhancing the learning process for the kids.”

Tickets are $40 each and include a dinner buffet, door prizes, cash bar and bidding number. A reserved table for 10 is $400.

The auction committee is taking donations for the event for any businesses interested in supporting the cause. To donate an item or to purchase tickets, residents can call the school office at (231) 832- 5186 to schedule arrangements for delivery.

To see items available for bid, visit the We Care for Kids Auction Facebook page.