Jan 21, 2013

I was a witness.

Every once in awhile in this life, we experience a moment that we're humbled to be a part of--that we know we're witnessing something fantastically amazing happen. Friday night was one of those moments for me.

As you may or may not have known, on Friday, my childhood church decided to hold a chili supper and benefit auction for miss Brooklyn {read Brooklyn's story here}. Somehow, in the course of planning, I was put in charge of the auction portion of the night. Easy peasy. I love doing things like this. But, being in charge also meant that my obsessive worrying kicked into overdrive. Do we have enough auction items? Do we have enough big ticket auction items? Are we going to have enough people show up to bid on said auction items? As the week went on, however, those worries changed into something much different. Our attendance numbers began to grow rapidly. The word was spreading via Facebook, word-of-mouth, local radio stations and even on a Louisville based morning show. That's the moment I really started freaking out. Will we have enough chili to feed everyone? How are we going to fit 300-400 people in our church's parish hall? Where is everyone going to sit? How should we rearrange the tables? Last week was a blur of collecting donations, posting donations on Facebook for the world to see, spreading the word to make sure people would come, giving directions, making sure I was prepared. Then Friday came. Auction items flooded the tables. People flooded the building. They flooded the donation basket with money. And that was only the beginning. The chili supper alone brought over $4,100---in simple, give from your heart donations. Let me put it this way. Someone estimated that we had around 350 in attendance that night. That would be roughly $11 a person. For a single bowl of chili and a hot dog. Amazing, right? Oh, you haven't heard anything yet.
The night was filled with generosity, love and just plain selflessness. Would you like examples?
A painting I made of Kentucky brought $175--bought by a friend of mine in Eastern Kentucky who's never even MET Brooklyn.
A bracelet that was made with the Brooklyn's Believers logo was purchased by a local farmer for $300....then was promptly handed over to Brooklyn's grandma for her to cherish and wear.
A St John middle schooler won a mountain bike for good testing grades at her school. When she found out she had won, she told her mom she wanted to donate the bike to be auctioned off for Brooklyn. The bike brought $175...and then was given back to the girl for her to keep.
But all of that was nothing compared to the end of the night. The very last item for auction was a pink child's quilt that had the words "Brooklyn's Believers" embroidered on the top. The bidding ended at $500...but that wasn't enough for the people there. Bidders began yelling out their numbers and how much they would donate to raise the price of the quilt. "Bidder number 100 donates $50!" The room was silent, except for people yelling out that they would donate $25, $50, even $100 towards the quilt (I'm tearing up even writing this). In the end, the quilt brought several thousand dollars. And then was given to Erin, Brooklyn's mom.
Someone asked me earlier in the week what I was hoping the auction would bring. I told them I had no expectations because I would rather be blown away than disappointed. Well, blown away doesn't even begin to describe it. That small community chili supper and auction raised over $22,000 for Brooklyn and her parents. To say that people were generous that night is a gross understatement. People gave from their hearts. God's work was evident that night--his light shining through every single volunteer, bidder and person in attendance. It was truly a humbling thing to witness.
Here's my official thank you. Thank you to those of you that came. Thank you for bidding. Thank you for buying. Thank you for donating your items. Thank you for spreading the word. Thank you to those who came, circled the overly full parking lot and left--you still came. Thank you to those that helped me with the auction. Just thank you, thank you, thank you.
Erin and Daniel. I think Friday night was a true testament to how much this community loves you. They don't want to see you hurting or struggling. And most of all, they, without a doubt, believe in Brooklyn.


savedbygrace said...

I don't know Brooklyn or her family but this is a amazing!! I was crying reading it! There really is good still left in this world!!

Anonymous said...

As I write thru my tears...I was a witness to this memorable night, also. It was heartwarming to say the least. Thank you, Devan!

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