Bidding on Baskets

The Jamestown Community College gymnasium underwent a serious transformation as it hosted the St. Susan Center’s 11th annual Spring Ahead basket fair.

The St. Susan Center’s biggest yearly fundraiser found a new home this year at the JCC gym, which accommodated 108 item baskets up for auction and even more attendees.

In addition to the Chinese auction for the baskets, the event also included grand-prize items such as an Apple iPad, Nikon camera kit, Kindle Fire HD, Garmin GPS, $100 Amazon gift card and a Keurig coffee maker. According to Sue Colwell, executive director of the St. Susan Center, the fundraiser has grown in recent years, and the goal is to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

“(The basket fair) has just snowballed over the years,” Colwell said. “I think they raised a couple thousand dollars the first year, and last year, they raised about $12,000. And people love it. We make it a reasonably priced event so a lot of people can come here, and they like to support the center.”

“We count on our fundraisers and the community to help keep St. Susan Center operating,” she continued. “And this year, we’ve had so many volunteers help us that it’s just really running smoother than it ever has – thanks to our board and people willing to do whatever they can. So, we make these fun fundraisers.”

With the change of venue came new features to the event, including catered meals provided by St. Susan Center itself and a children’s corner – which provided activities and entertainment for younger attendees who may not have shared the adults’ interest in the auction.

Colwell said that, while the number of baskets on-hand was less than last year’s 133, the decrease in items available for auction is not an issue for the fundraiser. The event also included door prizes and a 50/50 drawing.

St. Susan Center is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and 2-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The center serves, on average, more than 300 meals per day over the course of 361 days each year.

To learn more about the St. Susan Center and more upcoming events, visit www.stsusancenter.org.