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LAC feels the burden of COVID

Pandemic forces cancellation of popular auction, but organizers will hold drive-thru meal

For 41 years, the Lyle Area Cancer Auction has battled through just about everything a Minnesota winter has thrown at it to come up with massive amounts of money for cancer research.

But it couldn’t battle through COVID-19.

Auction organizers recently made the decision to cancel this year’s auction due to the pandemic currently gripping Minnesota.

“This was our third or fourth meeting about it,” said co-chair Larry Ricke. “We have kind of been waiting on the sidelines to find out what’s going on. Everybody’s like, ‘we have to do something.’”

And they are. Displaying the resilience that has resulted in $3.1 million in 41 years, the LAC is hosting a drive-thru meal at the Legion in Lyle from 4-7 p.m. on Jan. 23. The meal will include barbecue pork, mac and cheese and a cookie.

While it might be a challenge to meet the $152,500 raised from last year’s auction, organizers have always counted their blessings with whatever has been raised.

“The thing is, this is our 42nd annual auction and we’ve never, ever had to cancel an auction,” Ricke said. “Now the pandemic is kicking everybody’s butt. Any money we can raise, it’s always a blessing.”

At the same time, the LAC will be relying on goodwill donations this time around because it was hard to do the regular fundraising.

“You can’t go to these area businesses and ask for donations when they’ve been closed,” Ricke said.

So far this year, most every event related to the LAC has been canceled because of the pandemic, except Crop for a Cure, which was held virtually.

However, as in previous years, organizers are looking ahead with hopeful hearts.

“Three hours to make some money,” Ricke said. “We’re planning on serving a lot of people.”

The LAC has been one of the most successful fundraising efforts in the area in terms of cancer research. After needing 15 years to raise $1 million, the auction hit $2 million raised in 2015. Just five years later, it breached the $3 million mark.