Blogger: Brandon Jones (Senior at St. Helen's High School - St. Helens, OR)
I have been volunteering for Rick Rizzs and Dave Henderson’s Toys for Kids Auction for the past three year. Over the last 15 years the auction has raised over $1,000,000 which all goes towards buying toys for children.
Everyone thinks that the donators are the reason that auctions or fundraisers are so successful which they are, but what everyone always over looks are the volunteers that put in up to 30 hours or more to make this auction run smooth and be successful. Last year, I volunteered about 20-30 hours. I witnessed some volunteers work from the day after that years auction to the day of the next years auction. They are working year round to plan an auction with some sort of Christmas theme. I and the rest of the volunteers work countless hours of our free time to make this auction great so kids can experience the Christmas life I’ve always had. Every year the volunteers decorate the entire space in which the auction is held. We set up the auction the night before to the starting time of the auction. I have fixed problems consisting of paper work, signing guests up and making sure they get the right number that is associated with their bid number and their seat number. If the guest gets the wrong number then everything would be haywire. If a guest shows up late we then have to assign them a seat at the live auction and dinner table and when we do that it always makes it difficult. It ends up being too many people at a table so we have to switch two or three tables around to make everyone fit. Keep in mind this happens about every thirty minutes all the way up to the start of the auction. The biggest pain every year is the decorations. Most of the time they don’t fit properly. I and another volunteer are always stretching the garland to make it fit all the way a cross the top of the hallway ceiling. An hour before the auction last year our photographer bailed on us 1 hour before the auction and we all went running in circles like we were Tasmanian Devil searching for a new photographer. Luckily we found Inese Westcott a wonderful photographer that was willing to give up her night to help out Rick’s and Dave’s Toys for kids. The best part is always during the auction, I get to witness guest donate thousands of dollars for a good cause. Every year there is a family at the auction that has been affected by the toys for kids. They stand up in front of every guest and tell their story. Their stories are always so heart touching and meaningful. It’s also really cool to see all the ex-Mariners participate like Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner, baseball anchor and reporter Brad Adams and a Senior Baseball Analysts Bill Krueger also show up every year. For me it’s a great experience to be able to talk to Seattle Mariners greats, Roots Sports’ Brad Adams, Bill Krueger. By the time the auction is over I am just happy to see kids being able to get gifts like I did at their age.