By Heather Cameron
The 28th annual Taber Charity Auction will be held at the Taber Legion Hall on Saturday.
“This is an event that I personally look forward to,” said Mitch Holst, a member of the Taber Charity Auction Committee. “It is a fun night of spending time with members of the community, and raising funds for amazing causes.”
Holst says the doors will open at 4 p.m. and everyone in attendance will have an opportunity to look at the auction prizes until dinner is served at 5 p.m. by Dolf’s Meats & Sweets. Following dinner, there will be a live auction led by Perlich Brothers Auctioneers beginning at 6 p.m.
“It’s a fun evening, you know, there’s drinks and there’s food and there’s joking around and there’s an auction, which is always exciting,” Holst said. “And we like to keep it in the Legion Hall traditionally because it’s a really tight fit, which is awesome for an auction because then you’re right in everybody’s face and you feel the energy of it and it is a ton of fun.”
Holst says that the auction was originally started to support the STARS Air Ambulance because one of the members who was on the initial committee needed help from STARS. That member, Holst said, got together with others and started the first event where they raised money for STARS through receiving donations and a small auction.
“Then they decided, ‘Hey, we should do this every year. This is cool’,” Holst said. “And it’s just snowballed from there to the point where 27 years later, we’ve raised over $2 million.”
Last year’s event, Holst said, was the charity auction’s biggest year and even during the pandemic, money was raised despite the difficulties associated with COVID-19.
“For the year of 2020, we weren’t able to have an event,” Holst said. “2021, we were able to do what we called the Dash For Cash. We didn’t have an in-person auction. We just reached out to all of our prior donors and said, ‘Hey, it’s been two years now since we were able to do anything for our groups. You guys have some cheques. Can you write a cheque? Could you have some cash you wanted to donate?’ But we were able to raise a handful of money that year to support our beneficiaries that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do because of the pandemic. And then in 2022, now it’s been two years of everybody missing out on events in general, missing out on the auction. And so, everybody was really super excited about it. ”
Holst added that although the auction started out to originally benefit STARS, it gradually evolved to include raising money for the HALO Air Ambulance and to help meet needs in the community when there comes an urgent need. The Taber Charity Auction, Holst says, also works with the Taber and Vauxhall food banks, Taber Handi-Bus, TCAPS, Safe Haven Kids Summer Camps, TCAD, Town of Taber Fire Department, and it runs the Central School/Vauxhall School Breakfast Program.
“One cool thing we did with the Taber Fire Department was, it’s called the Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Program,” Holst said. “And so, there’s little AED machines in all the recreational facilities and in prominent places in town. These AED machines are literally, you pull off the wall, stick the pads on someone who’s having a heart attack, press the button, the machine does the rest. We actually had a situation just over a year ago, maybe a year and a half, two years ago, where a guy was experiencing cardiac arrest on the ice at a curling rink. And one of those AEDs was used on him and saved his life. So very, very cool to see that come full circle.”
Holst says that the Taber Charity Auction also partners with the Alberta Transplant Institute out of Calgary and donates to them. The donation, Holst says, is done on behalf of Taber resident Karen Hamilton who received a double lung transplant, was well for a time, but eventually passed away several years ago due to illness.
The Charity Auction itself, Holst says, is organized by a committee consisting of several individuals. It originally began with Bob Miyanaga and Jack French, but it has evolved over the years. The current committee consists of Holst, Joe Strojwas, Steve Hofer, Cara McMurdo, Rob Ducharme, Rick Hofer, Bonnie Krizsan, Jim Cavanaugh, Tod Kerkhoff, Ryland Nakamura, Kacy Tams, Steve Munshaw, and Logan Gouw.
“It’s really just a group of people who’ve come together in the community and realize, ‘Hey, there’s a bunch of needs in this town, and we can help fulfill them’,” Holst said. “There is enough businesses and people with the capability to help in this town that when we put our efforts together, we can make a big difference. The coolest part is seeing the group come together and give of themselves to better the people around them. People who they may never know it helped. It is a true sign of a strong caring community.”
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