Auction items 

Friend Inc. celebrates the return of the in-person benefit auction

Friend Inc. Community Services celebrated the return of an in-person auction on Saturday, April 30, raising funds for programs that help Berks County residents in need.

At the 32nd annual event, attendees gathered at Beltzner Hall at the Kutztown Fairgrounds for dinner and drinks followed by a live auction of miscellaneous items, bidding on art, jewelry, items household goods, autographed items, gift certificates for local businesses such as hair salons and restaurants, as well as the auction’s famous desserts.

“It’s fun! It’s a simple evening of culinary fun and friends. Now that we can get back together, it’s also an opportunity to thank our sponsors, our volunteers and of course our staff who keep moving things,” said James Reece, chief executive of Friend Inc.

  • Friend Inc. welcomed 175 attendees to its first in-person auction since the pandemic canceled the event two years ago. (photo sent)

  • The 175 attendees enjoyed a catered dinner and drinks, while...

    The 175 attendees enjoyed a catered dinner and drinks, as well as fellowship. (photo sent)

  • Fleetwood's Mark and Karin Crossley at the 32nd Annual...

    Mark and Karin Crossley of Fleetwood at the 32nd Annual Friends Inc. Community Service Auction on April 30. (Photo submitted)

This is the first year in three that the benefit auction has been held in person with around 175 people in attendance and another 75 registered to bid, as 90% of the auction items were available online.

“This is the first year that we’ve hosted a live and online event at the same time,” Reece said.

Two years ago, when COVID emerged, the event, like so many others, was canceled.

“Last year the world was still a bit wobbly so we decided to hold the whole auction virtually. It went pretty well, so this year when we decided to bet on returning to straight away, we thought ‘let’s keep the virtual part of this and see how it works!’ said Reece.

A dozen high-end items have been set aside for a special in-person auction with auctioneer Terry Lieb.

Friend Inc. is a multi-service non-profit organization that supports the well-being of families and individuals in need.

“The purpose of the auction is twofold. It helps us spread the word about the good work we do in the community and of course raise much needed funds to carry out this work,” said Reece.

Proceeds fund Friend Inc. programs that help Berks County residents in need.

“This event, like our Brake the Cycle of Poverty ride in August, helps raise awareness of the resources available throughout the northeast part of the county,” he said. “I hope this awareness helps someone connect with us who otherwise might not have heard of us. People can’t seek the help they need if they don’t know that help is just around the corner.

Friend, Inc., located in Kutztown, provides a variety of services to residents of the Northern Berks area, including food pantries, maternal and family health (WIC) services, emergency food distribution services and orientation.

For more information about Friend Inc. community services, call 610-683-7791 or visit www.friendinc.org.

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