From its inception, the Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale has been about honoring community and demonstrating the unbridled power that emerges from neighborhood unification. This lesson rings true each time, yet still, echos such amazement whenever calls are met with a response. In the Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale’s sixtieth year, 122 Rotarians, 1,500 volunteers, hundreds of donors, and thousands of shoppers have replied to a call for island tradition to survive the swirl of the ever-changing Coronavirus storm. As many heritages do, a legacy event has emerged atop the shoulders of a multigenerational custom, and the shift to an online platform has been offered for this year’s auction and sales.
Armed with the Rotary’s international motto of “Service Above Self”, Marina Wildsmith, the President of the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island, and her team will meet the community where it’s at. They simply could not sit on the sidelines while nonprofits and important projects need funding.
In the past, some of the projects that have been funded by the Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale include:
Building, expanding, and improving the island’s library
Helping build ball fields and other infrastructure at virtually every local park
Assisting the construction of public boat ramps and the Aquatic Center
Supporting non-profit organizations
Providing scholarships to Bainbridge Island High School students
Funding international humanitarian projects to bring clean water, medical equipment, and educational materials to communities in Africa and Latin America.
In these ways and more, the Rotary has always and will continue to share all profits with organizations who need the extra support. At the same time, Marina, like countless others right now, also had to be certain that all participants’ actions could be conducted in a safe, contactless way during the pandemic. In four short months, the Rotary team created an online system, pared down the number of donation departments from thirty-six to nineteen, set limits on the number of acceptable, “small” items, and learned how to make donating and shopping an easy, online endeavor. Don’t worry, your usual favorite categories still made the cut, like cars, boats, sporting equipment, furniture, and kids’ toys.
Hold on tight to the magic found in community rituals, like the Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale, that strengthen neighborhood bonds and hopes for a future where we can help one another rise up. In this spirit, look around your home for items to donate and spend some time on bainbridgerotaryauction.org to learn more about how you can be a part of an everlasting, iconic island event.