By Jason Buchanan
As the latest round of stimulus checks land in the bank accounts of struggling American families and workers, we’re reminded just how far a helping hand can go in pulling us up on our feet again.
For Hope House at 1800 N. Blanchard St., 2021 marks 30 years of helping single mothers and their children lay the groundwork for new lives. Beginning at noon on Sunday, April 11 and running until Friday, April 16, Hope House’s annual benefit auction allows supporters from across the country the chance to help Hancock County’s most vulnerable with numerous raffles throughout the week.
Three decades of Hope
A transitional shelter for women and children, Hope House was founded in 1990 in the former rectory at St. Michael of the Archangel Church. The shelter offers struggling single mothers a structured environment where establishing stability and overcoming addiction are the primary focus.
The annual auction is the biggest fund-raiser of the year for Hope House. While it’s traditionally been an celebratory, in-personal event, COVID has pushed the bidding online for the second year in a row. Hope House Development Director Laurie Poland had only recently joined the team in 2019 when the pandemic necessitated the eleventh-hour change.
Despite the formidable challenge, Poland and company forged ahead. The result was a successful online auction that secured funding for another year of operation.
“We feel like we have a handle on the way it went last year, so it will be very similar to last year’s event,” cites Poland. “We really focus on the transitional shelter that evening, so it is critical to the funding of the shelter that we have this annual event.”
Keys to the Future
The festivities feature a variety of raffles including a Wine Raffle with a cooler and selection of libations, a “Keys to the Future” raffle and a Dessert Raffle that includes a chance to win $1000. Hold onto those Dessert Raffle tickets, too, because they’ll be good for a special treat at The Baker’s Cafe through April 30.
A Bourbon and Champagne package will be up on the block, and for bidders with cabin fever, Poland reveals that this year’s sponsors have come up with something special to get them out of the house.
“This year, thanks to one of our sponsors, we are excited to offer a Friends Getaway at The Lakehouse Inn. It’s an overnight stay with beverages and food provided for you and three of your friends or family.”
Pre-registration is simple and quick for those seeking to get in on the action. “The nice thing is that you can bid from anywhere in the country, so anyone can participate! Last year my son was bidding from Arizona while my sister was bidding from Toledo,” Poland said.
Hope House Cares
It’s no secret that a dollar doesn’t go quite as far today as it did when Hope House was in its infancy. “One of the biggest changes is that we got some funding through the Cares Act. So we actually did serve about two-and-a-half times the number of people in 2020 than we had in the previous year. That means over 200 families who did not lose their homes thanks to that Cares Act money,” Poland said.
Meanwhile, the pandemic necessitated a freeze on the recruitment of new volunteers to assist the shelter. Because Hope House is an essential service, all staff members and residents have been given the opportunity to get the first vaccine. “As time goes on we will continue to vaccinate as appropriate.” cites Poland.
For more information, visit the auction website at https://hhauction2021.ggo.bid