The Alberni Valley Lions Club has donated $5,000 to Port Alberni’s COVID-19 relief fund.
The donation came from proceeds of the 2020 Alberni Valley Lions Online Auction, said George Smith, auction committee chair.
“It was quite successful,” he said of the auction, which was conducted entirely online for the second year in a row. “We actually cancelled it in the spring because we thought it would be a hardship on the community. In the fall some of our members went out and talked to the people that normally donate and we got a positive response, so we thought let’s go for it.”
This year the auction received 207 donations compared to 231 in 2019. The total value of items was a bit lower than the previous year, Smith said, “but the sales we received were as good as last year’s. We got higher average amounts—68 percent of retail value. We’ve never had more than 64 percent and it’s usually 58 to 60 percent. So the response was great, people that donated gave us very good items and the people that bid on things bid well.”
The City of Port Alberni loaned the Lions the train station to photograph and store all the auction items on short notice. Last year the Lions used the Salvation Army’s basement, but this year it was full of other items for the Army’s various assistance programs.
A lot of the Lions’ usual projects were cancelled this year, such as family day and a picnic for seniors, Canada Day parade and the annual Heritage Fair at the Alberni Valley Museum.
The Lions Club is here to serve the Alberni Valley, Smith said, which is why they decided to make a reasonably large donation to the COVID-19 Relief Team. “We had already done some donations previously but we think this is the biggest need in the Valley right now.”
They usually partner with an organization to raise funds during the auction, and felt the COVID-19 fund was appropriate.
“It will be used for feeding people,” said Capt. Michael Ramsay from the Salvation Army. “As the need is climbing quite a bit at Christmas time, we’ll be feeding people off the trucks, plus we have hampers here and home deliveries for people who are stuck at home and can’t get out. This money will be applied to purchasing food so we can make healthy, nutritious meals to help people out.”
The donation went toward supplies for the thousands of meals members of the COVID-19 response team have been making since March—more than 80,000 meals in total.
“We figure (it costs) $5 per meal, so $5,000 is a lot of meals,” said John Edmondson from the Bread of Life, also a member of the COVID-19 response team.