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ARC’s annual fundraiser takes a twist

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Nov 18, 2020


One of the most anticipated events of the year is on and you can participate from home.

The Animal Refuge Center will hold its 26th annual Starlight Auction on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. at the Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa. The Starlight Auction is ARC’s signature event and main fundraiser for Southwest Florida’s largest no-kill shelter.

This year’s event will be held in the memory of Sharon Bodenhafer, and it will be a little different than it’s been in the past.

New to the auction this year, is the opportunity to participate virtually. The live auction will be broadcast on ARC’s Facebook page and both the live and silent auction will have mobile bidding for guests watching from outside the hotel.

Instructions on downloading the app will be posted at www.AnimalRefugeCenter.com and ARC’s Facebook page closer to the auction.

Rob Spicker, board vice president of ARC, said the mobile component could add a new dimension to the event, bringing it to more people and, perhaps, resulting in more money raised.

“We’re really excited about it. We’ve used an app called Bid-Pal in the live and silent auctions for our guests in years past, but we will open it up this year to anybody,” Spicker said. “With mobile bidding we will actually be able to expand our reach. You can watch our silent auctions and make your own bids on the night of the auction. We will Facebook Live the live auction so people can watch remotely and bid through the app. Hopefully, it will drive up the interest and the money raised.”

The live auction will feature a dozen items, and more than 100 baskets will be available in the silent auction. Some are for cat owners and some for dog owners. Others include golf outings, hotel stays, jewelry, artwork, gift certificates and more. Bidding will open for all the available items several days ahead of the Nov. 28 event.

Last year’s auction raised around $198,000, a significant increase over the $142,000 in 2018.

Sponsorships are still available for businesses and individuals interested in supporting the Animal Refuge Center.

Individual tickets for the auction are on sale through the ARC website for $100 per person, and include admission to the live/silent auction, complimentary cocktail, dinner, dessert and coffee.

With a capacity this year of just under 200, tables will be limited to six and not 10 or 12 as in the past. Masks also will be required except when eating or drinking.

“There was a time we were concerned whether we would have the event. Then we thought about doing it virtually. Thanks to the hotel, we were able to do the live and virtual elements,” Spicker said. “People may not be comfortable coming to an event like this yet. It’s Thanksgiving weekend, but they want to join in. We’ve expanded the possibilities.”

ARC is a 501c3 non-profit animal welfare society. They are a non-euthanasia organization dedicated to caring for all owner-surrendered cats and dogs they receive.

For more info, call 841-0810 or go to animalrefugecenter.com