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Disabilities council auction returns
Organization aims to raise $50,000 with 32nd event

Svjetlana Mlinarevic
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, November 22, 2012

The NWT Disabilities Council is holding its 32nd annual Benefit Auction on Nov. 24 with almost $20,000 worth of prizes. The free event is scheduled from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Elks Lodge.

NNSL photo/graphic

Judy Sharp, vice-chair of the NWT Disabilities Council, gazes at some of the artistic prizes featured at the organization's 31st Benefit Auction held at the Greenstone Building, last year. - NNSL file photo

"There's a silent auction where we'll have hundreds of items in different price ranges so there's something for everyone from crafts and jewelry, artwork, and we have even a gently-used sectional," said Denise McKee, executive director of the council.

Some of the prizes up for auction – formerly called the “Celebrity Auction” -- include a plasma TV from Roy's Audio Video, furniture from Quality Furniture and a day with Great Slave MLA Glen Abernathy on his sail boat and other donated products and services.

"There's really something there for everyone in everyone's price range," said McKee.

Last year, the organization raised $37,000. This year, McKee hopes the fundraiser will collect $50,000.

"We're just really trying to ensure that when somebody comes to us, because there are no real crisis centres in the North, that we don't have to turn people away," she said.

The organization has been providing support, information, referrals and other services to people with disabilities since 1978.

"We're a unique organization in the sense that we don't service one specific disability or one specific group. So that means we represent all people," said McKee.

Although the organization has many government funders, it still relies on fundraising dollars to help the 1,500 disabled people it serves each year.

"If we had no funding we would need between $800,000 to $1 million to continue. We are an office of 23 people. People think we're this little office but we actually have respite workers and contractors throughout the North, but our base is out of Yellowknife. With our extra services, and to supplement that funding, the growing need is higher and we really would like to see us raise between $50,000 to $100,000 dollars every year so that we're not working in a constant deficit. That's just to cover what we deliver now. The wait lists are long," said McKee.

For those who can't make it to the benefit, organizers will be broadcasting live on the community channel during the event to encourage people to make bids by phone.

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