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Annual firefighters’ auction takes a different platform this year

By Carmen Marie Fabio


Despite the pandemic restrictions that have prevented this year’s annual Firefighter’s Auction fundraiser from taking place, organizers are still collecting for the much-needed funds to organize and distribute food and gifts for roughly 50 needy families in the region.

In what would have been Hudson’s 49th annual Firemen’s Charity Auction, organizers are opting not to cancel the event but to revert to an online donation platform in recognition of the many families who rely on the Firemen’s Christmas Baskets to get through the holiday season.

Organizers from Royal LePage Village Real Estate Hudson/Saint-Lazare are appealing to readers to help them reach their goal this year for the worthy cause.

“What they get is not just a Christmas Dinner,” said co-organizer Tania Ellerbeck, “they get four or five boxes each including food for the month, gifts for the kids, even pet food if the family has a dog.”

As reported in The Journal last year, the auction raised over $17,000 and while a wide variety of donated items from local restaurants and retailers were up for bid, the usual hot commodity was the auctioning off four hours of firefighters’ time to do ‘anything legal’ for the winning bidders.

And while this year’s event will not include donated items for sale, for every $100 donation, your name will be put into a draw to receive four firemen for four hours.

The virtual fundraiser is being held through CanadaHelps.org and has thus far raised $2380 of the $12,000 goal – the amount needed for the firefighters to put together upwards of 50 ‘baskets’ to help needy families in the region. But there’s still time to help them achieve this amount as fundraising will continue until December 21.

Many community organizations this year have felt a distinctive decrease in funding along with a greater demand for help as people grapple with unemployment due to the pandemic outbreak.

“People don’t stay on the (firefighters’) list forever,” said Ellerbeck, describing a mother of four who, after being a recipient for a few years, now has steady employment and gives back to the fund every year to help pay it forward for other families in need.

The auction is being held in conjunction with the LePont/Bridging Food Bank and tax receipts will be provided to donors.

“Every little bit helps, this year especially,” said Ellerbeck. “It’s a tough year.”

Despite the auction not being possible, Ellerbeck said they couldn’t just not host the gala this year.

“These people need help,” she said. “We’ve got to do something and the firefighters really depend on us so we’re pushing really as hard as we can to raise some money.”

To donate to the cause go to tinyurl.com/y66foluz