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United Campus Ministry benefit auction to promote community ties, raise funds

A local organization's fundraising event will promote community and local connections as well as raise funds to support its numerous outreach programs this weekend.

United Campus Ministry will hold its 31st annual Benefit Auction at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Athens Community Center.

All are welcome to attend for a suggested donation of $25 to $100 per person. The recommendation for students and low-income attendees is $15. Free childcare will be provided on-site.

The event will feature a live auction of locally donated items, food and drinks courtesy of local restaurants and businesses as well as a live mini concert by the Athens-based Calliope Feminist Choir.

A silent auction of locally donated items such as jewelry and artwork will span the duration of the event as guests enjoy heavy appetizers donated by Avalanche Pizza, Casa Nueva, Donkey Coffee & Espresso, Fluff Bakery & Catering, Gourmet Your Way, Purple Chopstix, Salaam, Sol and others. Raven's Glenn Winery will provide assorted wines.

Shamrock Auction Service also will conduct a live auction of the higher-dollar fare: weeklong stays in a Key West Condominium donated by Susan Mitchell and a lakefront cabin in rural Vermont donated by Cathy and Aaron Wright.

UCM Director Melissa Wales said all proceeds from the event will fund United Campus Ministry's mission and staff, keep its doors open and keep its programs going.

These programs include the organization's ministry's Thursday suppers and Saturday lunches, which provide about 5,000 free meals to the community each year; Ohio University's branch of the Better
Together campaign, which is a movement on college campuses to connect people of different religious backgrounds through shared values and responding to community needs; and an alternative, service-based spring break trip for students.

"[The benefit auction] is a wonderful time to bring supporters together, so I always look forward to seeing old friends," Wales said. "There are many people on the community who have supported UCM for many, many years, so it's always a great opportunity to reconnect with them."

Wales also recognized that due to the event's community-based nature, it would not generate the fundraising revenue that it does without the community support.

Local businesses as well as individuals who have come together to support the auction are: The Athens Real Estate Company, Carpenter and Associates, Cetide, Jeffrey D. Chaddock, Judith Daso, The Farmacy, Mara Giglio, Hocking Valley Bank, Kleinpenny Rentals, David LaPalombara and Robin Webb, Dick and Judy McGinn, Frank and Lorraine Myers, MS. Accounting & Taxes, Inc., Rich Gardens Organic Farm, Carole Schloss, Sarah Webb and Chad Burkett and Wendy Porter Financial Services.