ESTEVAN - Bid items have always been an important part of the United Way Estevan’s Telethon, and this year’s promises to be no different.
The United Way’s 45th annual telethon will take place on Oct. 15 and 16 at the Royal Canadian Legion’s Estevan Branch, and will air live on Access Now. And it will be tough for the bid items to surpass last year’s numbers.
Eighty-one bid items were received last year, and they brought in more than $6,500 for the United Way’s member agencies and community projects. Both figures set records.
Bid items have to be homemade or hand-crafted.
Melanie Graham, who is the chairperson of the bid items committee, said they have a good variety of items.
There will be a Canadian flag made of pallet wood that can be displayed outdoors, knitting throw blankets, pet apparel, hand-beaded Remembrance Day poppy pins, diamond dots and much more.
Baking will be donated as gift certificates, but other foods can be taken home from the telethon.
So far the United Way has received commitments for about 40 items. Some people have given more than one item.
“I’m going to get really busy here. Items are going to start coming in, and at the end of the month I’m going to take individual pictures so then I can get everything uploaded to our Facebook account,” said Graham.
The United Way has some dedicated, long-time donors. One of them is Candace Smyth, who has been a contributor for 12-15 years. When she first started, she was supplying flower arrangements and different crafts, but in recent years she has been sticking with pottery.
“This year I have two baskets,” said Smyth. “One is just a blue floral arrangement of trays. Last year I had donated bowls with the same flowers on it, so this year I decided to do matching trays.”
Smyth also has a basket of trays that are white with red poinsettias on them.
“They take quite a few hours. Especially the ones that I’m hand-painting this year. You do spend a lot of time on them. By the time you start working on them, then they have to dry, go to the kiln, and then you paint, and they go back in the kiln. There’s several hours put into them.”
She donates to the telethon because the United Way is a very worthwhile cause. There are a lot of agencies that benefit from money raised at the telethon.
Smyth encourages other crafters to provide a bid item for the telethon, and has referred the United Way to some local artisans in the past.
Rhonda Jacobs has been a donor for more than five years, supplying a framed print of one of her photographs. She started donating to the telethon because she is involved with the Estevan Regional Nursing Home’s Auxiliary, which is one of the United Way’s member agencies.
“This is one of the ways that the community helps us out, so when they ask us for help, it’s easy to say ‘yes,’” said Jacobs.
But she is also aware of the work the United Way does for others in the community.
Other people in the auxiliary have donated in the past, with quilts, Christmas crafts and more.
Jacobs loves to take photos, and she believes donating to the telethon is a great avenue for her talents. The auxiliary couldn’t do what it does without the support of the community and the people who help out the United Way.
Graham is asking that people have their items in by Oct. 1, so that she can take a photo, craft a write-up and post the donation on Facebook by Oct. 8 or 9. The paperwork takes some time as well.
“The public has that week prior (to the telethon) to be looking at all the items, and placing their bids if they like online, and come telethon weekend, we’re set up there with the phone to ring and accept bids that way, but bidding still can be done online,” said Graham.
Last year was the first time they allowed people to bid on something online before the telethon started.
To donate an item, please contact Graham at 306-421-6208.