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Event to raise funds for social services

February 28, 2014

Proceeds from the March 15 Eastern Sierra Auction Night will benefit the various social services programs offered by First United Methodist Church (above), including the Soup Kitchen, Friendship Center and Spirit of Recovery. Photo courtesy Carol Taylor

Bishop’s First United Methodist Church is inviting residents to an evening of fun and fundraising in support of its numerous social services programs.
The church’s Third Annual Eastern Sierra Community Auction will be held from 6:30-8:45 p.m. Saturday, March 15 at the FUMC Community Center, 205 N. Fowler St., Bishop. Proceeds from the evening – via a silent and live auction and any additional donations collected – will assist FUMC in its efforts to provide aid to vulnerable community members.
Specific programs to benefit include the Soup Kitchen, which feeds the hungry; the Shower Ministry, which makes hot showers available to the homeless; the Friendship Center, which provides respite care for residents suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia; the Spirit of Recovery, a support program for community members recovering from drug addiction and alcoholism; and the Project for Independent Living, which assists the downtrodden in getting back on their feet.
According to Pastor Kathleen Puntar, while grants and individual donations go a long way toward supporting FUMC’s social services endeavors, there are many underlying program costs such as building upkeep, repairs and other basic needs that must be fulfilled to keep the individual programs functioning.
The March 15 fundraiser, Puntar said, “will help us continue to strengthen that foundation so we can continue to do all the things we do.”
The idea for the fundraiser was brought to the fore by congregation members Bob and Marcia Weiland who had witnessed success with a similar type of auction at their church in Southern California. Two auctions under its belt, and FUMC has seen the same success, financial and otherwise.
“It’s been going really well,” Puntar said. “I think it’s a way to bring the different working parts of the church together in organizing this, and it brings the community together to support (FUMC social services) and it’s a really fun evening.”
The evening is actually being offered to residents at no cost; it’s billed as a free evening of desserts, appetizers and coffee, with a live auction and silent auction. “Anybody who comes is also eligible for a door prize,” Puntar added.
Chuck Kilpatrick serves as emcee and Richard Reel, a professional auctioneer, brings out the bids during the live auction, which Puntar said can get pretty exciting and hilarious as community members engage in good-natured bidding wars.
The items up for bid in both auctions cover a wide variety of interests and budgets. Local merchants have generously donated products and services, while individuals have donated their time and talents – such as baking skills or fly fishing expertise.
Attendees can contribute as much or as little as they choose. “We’ve tried, particularly with the silent auction, to work across the gamut of what people are able to afford,” Puntar said.
A preliminary list of live auction items includes: an autographed Jimmy Johnson jacket, a pack trip with Frontier Pack Pack Station, king-size brushed flannel quilt, four rounds of golf at Bishop Country Club homemade pies from some of FUMC’s best bakers, gift baskets from hair salons for products and services, a four-gallon mini electric water heater, original paintings  and framed limited edition prints, a trail ride for two with Rock Creek Pack Station, an original framed watercolor plus a painting class for two by Linda Arnold, a handmade dyed scarf by Penny Kehaus, a $50 gift certificate to Spellbinder Books, 120 square-foot Belgard Paver patio donated and installed by the Weilands, a salmon dinner for four followed by stargazing with an 11-inch computer-controlled telescope with Roberta and Peter Cummings and two reserved tickets for Playhouse 395 performance of “Oklahoma” and a box supper for two featuring Oklahoma’s favorite picnic foods.
Reservations are not necessary unless child care is needed. Credit cards will be accepted. Residents who would like to contribute but are unable to attend on March 15 may send donations to FUMC at 205 N. Fowler St., Bishop, CA 93514.
For more information, call the Methodist Church office at (760) 872-7701. 

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