With dinner plans canceled again, Florenceville Rotary Club has once again auctioned off online

For many years, the Rotary Club of Florenceville hosted its annual dinner and auction as one of its most important fundraising efforts. Funds raised during the event are donated to many of the club’s community service projects.

Last year, with COVID-19 protocols making social gatherings impossible, Rotarians opted to cancel the dinner and start the online auction.

Carol Brennan, co-chair of fundraising for the Rotary Club of Florenceville, said members believed the online auction, while successful, would be a one-time event.

In August 2021, she said, Rotarians began planning for the return to the dinner and auction format. However, Rotarians again adjusted their plans to the online model when the fourth wave of COVID-19 hit New Brunswick, including sending northern Carleton County into short-term breaker restrictions.

Unlike last year, when the online option was found to be new and untested, Rotarians in Florenceville entered planning this year with invaluable experience in hand.

“With the experience gained over the past year, it has been easy to switch back to the online format,” said Tony Trafford, president of the Rotary Club of Florenceville.

He credited the work of Sunset Auction Sales Inc, which facilitated the event online with over 200 items in the running.

Brennan said the events of the two years have proven to be equally successful, raising similar amounts of money. She said this year’s event, held Nov. 9-12, raised around $ 14,000 for local projects.

“There was definitely a learning curve last year that we didn’t have to face this year,” said Brennan. “In terms of financial success, the net return was almost the same in both years. ”

She said the success of these events goes beyond financial gain for the club.

“The camaraderie and goodwill that club members experience in working with donors and among themselves to make this fundraiser happen is also a sense of achievement,” said Brennan.

She said members of the Florenceville Rotary Club come from Florenceville-Bristol, Bath, Centerville, Hartland and surrounding communities.

“The business community serving these regions is very supportive of this event,” said Brennan. “Local businesses and individuals generously donate the many items. ”

Trafford said the auction would not be possible without the committed support of the community.

The club provides a list of donors on the Florenceville Rotary Club Facebook page and website at https://www.florencevillerotaryclub.com/

Brennan said one of the advantages of the online auction is that it’s not limited to those who attend the dinner.

“Buyers came from as far away as Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska, Nashwaak Bridge and Saint-George,” she said.

Brennan said that Florenceville Rotary’s local projects focus on youth, literacy, health, seniors and food security. She added that the club also supports global initiatives such as polio eradication, clean water solutions, safe stoves and shelter for areas affected by natural disasters.

Brennan and Trafford aren’t ready to predict what 2022 will bring regarding auction plans.

“Rotarians and the local community have enjoyed an auction dinner for many years,” said Brennan. “One thing the pandemic has taught us is to be flexible and look for new ways to meet the needs of our community. We feel fortunate that one door closed, another opened and allowed us to continue raising funds for community projects.

At this point, she said, the Rotary Club of Florenceville can only wait and see what next year brings.

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