If your Saturday night plans are still up in the air, Hospice of Homer’s annual “Preparing for the Holidays” auction promises a trifecta of attractions: a good time, plus a way to get ahead on your holiday gifts and help out the community at the same time.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at Wasabi’s, and it’s everything it’s been in previous years – plus more. For the first time, the extravaganza will include a live auction as well as wine, dinner and a silent auction. The goods on sale include the annual selection of jewelry and art, but also lots of new package items: things like gift certificates for cooking classes and massages and haircuts, bear viewing and kayak tours and B&B overnight vouchers.
The proceeds from all of these gifts, as well as from the $60 tickets to the event, go toward funding the hospice, which helps southern Kenai Peninsula residents navigate the end of life and grieving process free of charge.
Hospice of Homer Executive Director Darlene Hildebrand says the event isn’t just about raising money.
This year, hospice celebrates 30 years of service. That service is more than end of life care, Hildebrand explains. Hospice provides “comfort, dignity and choice to the frail, the isolated, and those facing end of life needs” by providing end of life care, volunteer visitors or “phone friends” for those facing life alone, lending expensive medical equipment to those who need it, and offering a lending library, community education, and bereavement support groups.
“We wouldn’t have been in the community 30 years without support,” says Hildebrand.
To recognize that support, this year the hospice board created the Compassion in Action Award, to be given out annually to a business or individual who has shown dedication to organization over the years.
The inaugural awardees are Dorothy and Bill Fry, who own Bear Creek Winery.
“Dorothy and Bill have big, over-flowing hearts. They always reply with a heartfelt, enthusiastic yes to a request from hospice. We could not ask for more kind, generous, ongoing support,” wrote Hildebrand in an email.
She says it’s not just one thing hospice has to thank the Frys for. Over the years, the couple has donated auction items, sponsored the annual hospice golf tournament, and contributed wine for hospice events. They’ve also hosted hospice happenings like a fundraising run and donor recognition gatherings at the winery.
“We were very humbled to receive (the award),” says Dorothy Fry. “Hospice is just a great organization and they help so many people in this community. They’ve helped us out a lot over the years in things that we’ve had to deal with in our family.”
In addition to Saturday’s auction, hospice has also brought attention to the grieving process this month in collaboration with Homer Council on the Arts. “Loss,” which showcases community art on the theme, opened Nov. 9 at HCOA. The gallery is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The show runs through the end of November.
On Saturday night, hospice honors the people who have made donations to help it serve the community. Dorothy Fry says she wants to redirect that attention back to the organization’s own generosity.
“It takes a lot of work and there are so many volunteers and I think they probably don’t get to hear it enough from members of the community because people are in their grief … but I know from talking to people in the community that they’re just so thankful that (hospice volunteers) are here,” she says. “We’re very lucky to have such a strong organization in such a small community. Homer is a very giving, caring, compassionate community. People just come together in other people’s time of need.”
Annie Rosenthal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hospice of Homer’s annual fundraising auction. The organization celebrates 30 years of volunteer work this year.
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14
Where: Wasabi’s, 59217 East End Rd
Bill and Dorothy Fry will be honored as the recipients of Hospice of Homer’s first Compassion in Action award.
Tickets are $60, on sale at the Homer Bookstore and the Hospice office (265 Pioneer Ave., Suite 3).
Art, jewelry, gift baskets, kayak trips, B&B stays and more.
Saturday is also your last chance to buy a ticket for the Hospice Art Raffle. Tickets are $5 or 5 for $20.