Out & About: Lion’s Club action auction offers community-building opportunities

Liz Sauchelli. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Liz Sauchelli. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.


Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 04-05-2024 6:30 PM

Modified: 04-09-2024 10:04 AM

HANOVER — Three hours of babysitting. Freshly picked flowers. A custard pie.

These homemade goods and services might not seem to have much in common, but they’re three among 42 things that are part of the Hanover Lions Club’s annual “action auction,” which takes place online through Sunday, April 14 via 32auctions.com/HLAprilAuction2024.

“Some people are a little reluctant to participate in auctions because they say to themselves: ‘I don’t want more stuff.’ But this is an action auction so it’s always about doing something for somebody else,” said Bill Hammond, who serves on Hanover Lions Club’s board of directors. “It’s about connections. It’s about community.”

The group held its first auction four years ago in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when it was challenging to get together for in-person fundraisers.

“We could pick things we could do well alone like carpentry or raking someone’s leaves,” Hammond said. “We didn’t have to interact with anyone, but we could still do something good.”

Proceeds benefit Hanover’s Youth in Action, a student volunteer group, and Visions for Creative Housing Solutions, a nonprofit organization that is nearing completion of its third Upper Valley home for adults with developmental disabilities.

The first auction raised around $1,200, the second $1,852 and the third $2,603. Funds have gone to various causes including refugees and earthquake victims.

“I think honestly if it continues to gain traction it could make a lot of money,” Hammond said, adding that it was largely dependent on the services people offered. “As those grow, the income will grow and then it goes right back into the community.”

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Community is a big aspect of the action auction and it’s one Visions staff are looking forward to the most. There are around 10 staff members, residents and residents’ family members who volunteered to participate. Among them is Development Manager Laura Perez, who offered to pick a bouquet of flowers for the highest bidder. She referred to it as her “favorite auction idea ever.”

In addition to money, it is “also really creating a sense of community,” Perez said. “I just thought it was the best of both worlds.”

Executive Director Sylvia Dow agreed. Dow and a group of Visions residents volunteered to pick up litter for three hours on the winning bidder’s chosen street.

“I think that also, if you have a resident who comes to your house … you get to know them. You understand they’re hardworking, they’re committed,” Dow said. “They just have such wonderful personalities. It really humanizes who we are.”

Dow also sees it as an opportunity to introduce Visions and its residents to their neighbors at their new Hanover house.

“We want to volunteer,” she said. “We want to be seen.”

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.