WESTFIELD -More than $40,000 was raised for local charities and groups during the 51st Annual Kiwanis Auction March 1 at the Westfield State University TV Studio.
Kiwanis International Trustee and Auction Co-Host George Delisle said organizers believe they fell short of last year’s record breaking $64,000, but that they are still pleased with the results. The money that was raised will fund local charities and groups such as the Westfield Little League clubs, the Greater Westfield Boys and Girls Club, Girl Scouts, Westfield on Weekends, the annual Strawberry Festival, Our Community Table soup kitchen, youth programs in the local schools, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, and the Kiwanis Foundation of New England.
The auction featured a total of 330 items and services for people to call in and bid on during the eight-hour event. Most of the items were split into blocks of 10 that were available to be bid on for 10 minutes each.
Some of the higher ticket items were split into two blocks that were available to be bid on for four hours each in the first and second halves of the show. Those items included items or services including a driver’s education course, a portrait photography package with a two-hour photoshoot from co-host Adam Wright, and a hot-air balloon ride for two, among others.
The highest ticket items were available to be bid on for the entire eight-hour duration of the auction. Those included a signed Jayson Tatum jersey, four Red Sox tickets with parking included, and the highest bid of the night at $1,400 was a cookout for 20 people set up and hosted by members of the Kiwanis Club at the bidder’s home.
Delisle said that his highlight for the evening was the tribute to Donald Ouimet, who was a member of the Westfield Kiwanis Club for 67 years. Ouimet passed away this past August at the age of 100.
“He was sharp and active right up until the very end,” said Delisle, “He was basically the club’s telephone committee. You would give Don a list of phone numbers for Kiwanis business and he would get to each and every one of them.”
“He was an inspiring man, doing the things that he did for the community and not wanting to stop,” said Delisle.
Throughout the night, guest auctioneers joined Delisle and Wright at the host’s desk. Some of the guests included State Rep. John C. Velis, Mayor Donald F. Humason Jr., Harry Rock, and some city councilors.
“It’s always a fun day and people seem to enjoy being participants,” said Delisle.
On Monday, auction organizers brought every item to St. Joseph’s Church to match them up with the bidding receipts. Bidding winners can go claim their bids March 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. at St. Joseph’s. Cash, credit cards, and checks are all accepted for payment.
“After that, we turn around and start preparing for next year’s auction,” said Delisle.
The full eight hour video of the auction is archived and available for viewing at the Westfield Kiwanis Youtube channel.