Auction raises $1,900 for Haiti

Published 7:07 am Monday, February 1, 2010

Even though Haiti is more than 2,000 miles from Austin, people only had to travel to Mapleview on Saturday to contribute to the relief effort.

About 20 items were sold at an auction at Midnight Sun Spa Saturday to raise a total of $1,900 for the relief effort in Haiti. All the money raised went to the American Red Cross.

Midnight Sun Spa owner Dan Schreiber said the idea to hold an auction for relief effort following the earthquake in Haiti first sparked when he was watching television and saw a commercial.

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“The biggest thing is I want to make some good money for the people in Haiti,” he said. “It’s not about us. Today it’s about them.”

Manager Katie Sollid called area businesses to get other items to be sold during the auction.

About 23 items were donated by Austin and Albert Lea area businesses, including a five-person Cal Spas hot tub valued at almost $3,000. Other items included coupons for two free oil changes from Motor Inn. in Albert Lea, a wall clock from Brick Furniture, a pair of Oakley sunglasses from Rydjor Bike Shop and Dolan’s Landscape Center donated two $100 gift certificates that can be used on products or services.

Rent ‘n Save donated chairs and tables to be used at the auction, and Jim’s SuperValu donated food for $2 meals — a barbecue sandwich, chips and pop. The money raised from food sold at the auction also went to the Red Cross.

Some items sold for more than the item is worth, like a $20 gift certificate and mug from Morning Grind Coffee Shop sold for about $30, but others sold for less than the value of the item.

About 20 attended Saturday. David Hagen eyed a John Deere pedal tractor and said he intended to buy it — no matter the cost — for a friend’s children because the friend was recently divorced.

“(Cost) doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’m getting it, and it’s for a good cause.”

Didacus Guzman decided to attend the auction because he wanted to help the people of Haiti.

“Anybody who goes through that kind of massive destruction needs everybody’s help no matter where it’s at,” he said.

Schreiber has owned a Midnight Sun Spa in Mankato for about six years. Schreiber purchased Midnight Spa in Austin, formerly Island Pool & Spa, in August. He said the event also served as a chance to introduce himself to people in the community.

“I’m new here. It’s a good way to introduce ourselves to the Austin area,” Schreiber said. “What’s a better way than to try raise money for people who are really in desperate need of some help.”

“Hopefully, this will show the type of business that we are,” he added. “We’re a caring business, caring people.”

However, Schreiber said the focus of the auction was raising money for Haiti. Any benefits to the business would be a bonus.

The Mower County American Red Cross has not held any organized local fundraisers specific to the Haiti Relief Fund.

“They (Midnight Sun Spas) approached us seeking a legitimate way to get the money to Haiti,” said Red Cross executive assistant Brigitte Campbell. “It is so impressive, this community outreach.”

The local chapter of the Red Cross has raised about $12,000 for Haiti since the earthquake hit through donations designated to that fund.

“It’s really unbelievable that so many people have been coming in asking to help,” she said. “We have just had a revolving door.”

Donations given to the Mower County Red Cross for Haiti go directly to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund.

The relief operation in Haiti is already the largest single-country personnel deployment in global Red Cross history, according to More than 430 Red Cross and Red Crescent workers, from more than 30 countries, are in Haiti supporting thousands of local volunteers. Red Cross medical responders are treating about 500 people each day, and teams are focused on purifying the water supply and are delivering clean drinking water, providing first aid, emotional support, other resources, support and training.

To donate directly to the Red Cross, call 437-4589, stop in the chapter office at 305 Fourth Ave. NW or visit Text “HAITI” to 90999 to have $10 added to your cell phone bill for a donation.