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Annual auction for Rainbow of Hope pays tab for area families with high hospital costs

Jennifer Ditlevson Published: July 1, 2010 2:55 PM
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Help from the locals isn't just reserved for the needy overseas. The Rainbow of Hope Foundation will take care of the local community with proceeds made from its 23rd auction at Mount Hope Auctions on July 24 and 25. Proceeds will aid families struggling to cover their children's medical expenses.

Last year the auction netted $345,000. Compared to 2008 figures, the 2009 amount fell short of what it had been in the past, but Anthony Kaufman, who works on Rainbow of Hope board, said there isn't a specific monetary goal from year to year.

"We never set out to top a certain amount for it to be a success," Kaufman said. "We're just hoping the community will continue to support Rainbow of Hope as they have for the past 20-plus years."

The event has grown since 1983. Rainbow of Hope Foundation President Henry Hershberger estimated 3,000 people attended last year and just as many are likely to come this year.

Whatever money the foundation can muster will contribute to the increase in high-dollar cases Kaufman has seen in the past year.

Rainbow of Hope accepts applications from families in Wayne, Holmes, Coshocton and Tuscarawas counties with handicapped and special needs children, as well as accident victims, acute and long-term illness patients.

"The bills are definitely not getting smaller when it comes to health care for children. In the last year there has not been a real trend. There's been anything from accidents that have harmed young people to leukemia," Kaufman said. "We're just seeing that there are more people now than ever that need assistance with medical bills."

Auction items include quilts, toys, services, furniture, sinks, livestock and garden tools from businesses and people in the area. Keim Lumber of Charm will donate a specialty clock in honor of their 100th anniversary.

"Keim Lumber has always been a good contributor to the auction," Kaufman said. "They usually donate a specialty clock made with some ornate

wood species."

This year's clock will stand out more than usual, crafted after the original made by the founder M.J. Keim that hangs in the lobby of the store.

Companies donate goods, but Kaufman said he couldn't imagine pulling off the event without the time donated by individuals. The majority of the work is done before the auctions, but whether it is making and selling the food or setting up events with speakers or the auctions, the volunteer work from the community makes the event possible.

"We are incredibly blessed with the staff and volunteers," Kaufman said. "We're really blessed in this area. We don't have to strain ourselves. They appear every year, which is awesome."

Kaufman said there won't be any major changes this year, but he's looking forward to hearing Elton Lehman share information about his work in Indonesia and Haiti as well as hearing about Lehman's forthcoming memoirs.

Activities begin 4 p.m. Friday with barbecued chicken and other home-cooked food available while visitors can take advantage of the dunking tank and volleyball games. The tools and toy auction begins at 6 p.m. and the entertainment starts at 7 p.m.

Saturday's events start early with a full-course breakfast at 6 a.m. and the furniture and quilt auctions at 9 a.m. At noon, specialty items will be auctioned.

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Those who wish to donate to the foundation can send money to Rainbow of Hope Foundation, P.O. Box 8, Mount Hope 44660.

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