Auction vital to nonprofit's future
Fairgrove Family Resource Center already faced financial hardship before the nonprofit recently lost 40 percent of its budget due to government cutbacks.
On the heels of a brutal winter that flooded its doors with people needing food or help paying for expensive heating bills, FFRC's annual auction could not come at a better time. As one of the nonprofit's two significant fundraisers of the year, the April 12 auction takes on even more significance.
“This auction is more important this year than ever,” said Terri Fisher, FFRC's executive director. “We work off grant funds, and this auction is crucial to our survival.”
Since the Great Recession hit in 2008, FFRC has struggled to keep up with the increasing demand for assistance from residents who have lost work and barely are making ends meet. The number of families signing up for food or emergency money to pay rent, electricity or heating bills has increased exponentially, straining the resource center beyond its limits.
When it seemed like matters couldn't get much worse financially, Fisher said her agency lost $100,000 in state funding, cutting 40 percent of her operating budget.
“That was a huge source of funding for us,” Fisher said. “We are operating on reserves at this point and need people to understand that this is one of only two fundraisers we have. We have served record numbers of people this year. January and February generally are our slower months, but this past winter has been one of the worst, and we've seen some of the highest power bills ever. People come in here who have lost everything and are just trying to get something to eat.”
The FFRC Auction is scheduled for next Saturday afternoon and features a wide array of donated items, ranging from furniture to SCUBA diving lessons. All proceeds from the auction go to supporting the resource center and its programs.
“We are trying to raise money to be able to maintain services and actually continue to stay here,” said Fisher. “We are constant need of funding sources to buy food. We need funds.”
FFRC receives money from the United Way to go toward its emergency assistance funds, but Fisher said there isn't enough money available to make it every month. On April 3, a sign on the door at its headquarters on Myrtle Drive said no emergency money was available. The center provides food to more than 1,000 people each month, and also sponsors a backpack program that feeds 182 children a week. Select students at Thomasville Primary School and Pilot, Fair Grove and Brier Creek elementary schools are given a backpack full of food every Friday to ensure they have something to eat over the weekend.
Some of the items up for auction include jewelry, car care, flooring, pottery, professional services, gift baskets, art prints and more. A complete list of auction items is available on the Fairgrove Family Resource Center Facebook page and its website at fgrc.com.
Professional auctioneer Dale Norris volunteered to handle the auction proceedings. The auction starts at 5 p.m. at 159 Myrtle Drive. Hot dogs, snacks and homemade desserts also will be available.
For more information, call Fisher at 472-7217.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.