Every year, the Carrboro PTA hosts an auction and raffle focused on raising funds for the school. But this year, the event is also trying to help small businesses in Orange County.
The “Totally Great Carrboro Elementary PTA Small Business Bonanza Auction and Raffle" is being held virtually this year over an 11-day period.
Organizers purchased items from over 70 local restaurants, retail stores, fitness centers and a tattoo shop, among other businesses. Rebecca Kelada, one of the auction organizers, said the PTA wanted to help out local businesses by buying from them because of the impact the pandemic has.
“The acknowledgment that they have been suffering and struggling and scared and that we love them and that we recognize how important they are to our community really, really touched them which made it a lot easier to keep doing the work,” Kelada said.
The PTA’s sponsors — including Carolina Professional Painting and F&F Automotive — raised money to help Kelada and other organizers purchase many of the items being auctioned and raffled from local businesses to support them.
The event usually helps supply the school's students and teachers with resources like teacher supplies and eyeglasses for students. This year, they are also raising money to fund outdoor learning spaces for when students return to in-person learning.
Adrienne Stephens, an auction organizer, has helped with the raffle for the past four years. She said it has been tough to see some businesses close during this past year, but hopes this auction can help out the community.
“This has been a really positive experience, working as a team to pick up the pieces of this auction this year and make what we can of it — and the responses from the donor families, the donating businesses and the sponsored businesses have all been extremely encouraging,” Stephens said.
Some businesses decided to also donate money or items in addition to those that were purchased to help out the cause. Sam Suchoff, owner of The Pig, donated a gift card, branded mason jars and shirts in addition to gift cards that were bought from the restaurant.
Suchoff said he has donated to the event before, but knew this year was especially important because of how local businesses have been affected — even his own, which was recently broken into.
“Especially with having been locked up and having had our social lives distanced for the past year, I think it's a nice reminder to everyone that the community is still here, and businesses will be here for them to come to and visit,” Suchoff said.
Lauren Sacks, co-founder of Whole Mama Yoga and a CES parent, donated an outdoor private yoga lesson or private Zoom lesson.
Sacks said by being involved in this auction and raffle, she feels involved in the school and can help contribute to those who have given their all over the past year.
“I think this event is another way for small businesses to feel involved in another aspect of community life, to be seen as supportive of public education and to get the word out about what they do,” she said.
The event, which began on April 6, is open to bidders until 8 p.m. on April 16, with drawings for items beginning at 8:01 p.m.
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