The favored annual auction event hosted by the Student University Programmers was hosted again this year on Monday, Nov. 15. The 55th Annual Holiday Helper Auction was a virtual setting this year, but the holiday spirit was still among the students who tuned in. In recent years, Student University Programmers partnered with numerous charities and raised over $51,000 during the Holiday Helper Auctions for the causes.
The Rowan community came together to bid against each other on several items, such as gift cards, gift baskets, and celebrity autographed memorabilia.
“This is our second year doing Holiday Helper online, so we had an outline from last year that we were able to build on,” said Rachael Owens, director of charitable events for the student university programmers. “I had a great team of SUP e-board members, committee members, as well as the support of my friends and family which helped make the process of holding this event virtually very easy,” she said.
A lot of the auction items that students could bid for were themed as Rowan swag, sports, and activities and experiences. Other items included luxurious spa trips and holiday and winter fun. Raffle items were a favorite amongst the crowd throughout the evening.
All funds raised at Holiday Helper will benefit the Gloucester County Toys For Tots Foundation. The mission of the Toys for Tots Program is to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. The local impact has been an overwhelming success with 171,752 toys distributed and 34,117 children supported. The money raised at this year’s Holiday Helper will allow more people the opportunity to enjoy the magic and joy the holidays bring with the ones they love most.
“I’m looking forward to raising money for Toys for Tots and helping others have a great holiday season. I’m also looking forward to seeing everything come together since this has been something I’ve been working on since July.” Owens said. “It’s something I’m always going to remember when I look back on my time at Rowan,”
When all the donations were shown on the screen, the night’s highest bidder received their long-awaited prize. After the occasion, the buyers will be able to collect their items and make the payment at the Chamberlain Student Center Information desk, in the upcoming days after the event.
This is the second year of the Holiday Helper being online. COVID-19 changed the way the Student University Programmers went about hosting the Holiday Helper auctions– but in a positive way. The student organization was able to reach a more diverse audience by having the auction online. With a more diverse audience, they could raise their fundraising goals and donate more.
Post-COVID, there’s no plan of what the auction will look like, but Student University Programmers hope to continue raising lots of funds for local charities.
“It’s amazing to see how people can come together for a great cause and I definitely think those goals were achieved that night,” Owens said.
For more information, you can visit the Toys for Tots website here.
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