Virtual Auction to Help Eleventh Hour Rescue

by Elsie Walker

 

From Saturday, February 17, 9am EST  to  Friday, February 23, 4pm EST, people can bid online for great items with the highest bidder knowing that they have not only won but also helped  animals at the same time.   It is the Eleventh Hour Rescue’s 2024 Winter Virtual Auction. Eleventh Hour Rescue is a non-profit, 501(c) 3 organization in Morris County founded by the late Linda Schiller. Many of those it rescues are animals in over-crowded shelters who are  about to be euthanized just due to lack of space for them.  Volunteer Jeannie Patsarikas  noted that since its inception, Eleventh Hour Rescue has found homes for 45,000 dogs, cats, and small animals. ( It started with dogs and cats and a few years ago started taking in bunnies and guinea pigs.)  She emphasized that is a no kill shelter.   Another volunteer, Kathy Dolce, added, “Eleventh Hour Rescue relies on fundraising to support their mission. 100% of their funding is through the generous support of donators, sponsors, and private grants.”  Recently, Patsarikas, of Long Valley, an eight-year volunteer and tricky tray/auction team lead and Dolce of West Caldwell, a two-year volunteer involved with sponsorships, talked about the auction and why fundraisers such as it are important to the rescue.

The virtual auction was born as a result of covid.  Patsarikas explained that during covid, in-person fundraising events were shut down.  In Fall 2020 , an online Octoberfest was attempted but  Patsarikas discovered tricky trays can’t be done online.  The idea of having an auction was born.  The organization does one auction a year, in the winter.   

This year, over 100 items will be auctioned on Facebook.  To join the Facebook group for the auction, people access it once the auction starts through a link on an Eleventh Hour Rescue webpage:    https://www.ehrevents.org/winter-virtual-auction     

Once in the Facebook group, people will see pictures of each item and a description of it plus the opening and incremental bid for it.   In the comments area, a person puts their bid.  Those who bid are notified if someone else puts in a higher bid. After the auction closes, items won can be picked up at the organization’s Roxbury thrift store and  Adoption Center. Details on that will be on the Facebook group page.  Patsarikas noted that David Warner Photography (www.davidwarnerphotos.com) donated the photography services to take the pictures of items being auctioned.

Auctioned items are donated by volunteers, foster pet families, small businesses, vendors, and previous adopters.   At the time of the interview, items were still coming in, but when asked to give an idea of the types of items being auctioned, Patsarikas shared the following:  “Wine and alcohol baskets, jewelry, high quality facial care products, gift cards (Amazon, Visa, local restaurants, Massage Envy, Pet Supplies Plus), dog and cat themed baskets, air mattress, $250 towards a reservation at the Ampersand Inn, tickets to Sterling Mine Hill, Bobsweep Robotic vacuum cleaner, vintage Barbie dolls, tools, toys and puzzles and games and family fun items. golf bag, crafts, tools, and many more. “  Although items generally range in value from $50 – hundreds of dollars, Patsarikas noted that there is one “outlier”. 

 

“Our big ticket item is Bradford Portraits.  The package includes a 20- inch wall portrait on canvas with lavish artistry plus a one- night stay at either the luxurious Opus Westchester or the East Miami Hotel. Its value is $5000,” Patsarikas said.

 

“Bidding wars actually happen.  People get into the competition of it, ” Patsarikas said. Dolce noted that it is a lot of fun watching the bidding and “it’s (the proceeds) all for the [animals].”

Dolce shared that the organization has astronomical veterinary bills every year as they care for the animals, so they have a good quality of life while waiting for their forever homes.  Besides individual needs, there are things done for all the animals. For example, every dog that comes to the rescue is checked out, given their preventatives, is spayed/neutered, and microchipped. Although there is an adoption fee, it doesn’t cover all the costs of caring for the animal.  Also, after adoption, the rescue follows up to see how the adoption is going.  

The organization has about 600 volunteers and partners across multiple states and countries, a kennel, an adoption center in Roxbury and in Rockaway, and catteries in two Petco locations (other cats are fostered).  Besides rescuing, caring for, and helping animals to find forever homes, the organization does outreach programs such as talks at schools about animal rescue. 

Patsarikas noted that the organization is a real team effort and is able to accomplish so much due to the dedication, generosity, caring and hard work of the volunteers.  “[For example,] I might lead the tricky tray/auction team but behind me there are three other core members: Nancy Arluna, Beverly Bischer and Wendy Romano.  We have an extended team who helps us with our photo shoots, wrapping baskets and running the events.”

Looking ahead, Patsarikas  shared that the organization will have a Murder Mystery event on Saturday March 16 at Vasa Park in Hackettstown.  “It is a fun and exciting event,” she said.  For more information, see  https://www.ehrevents.org/murder-mystery-dinner

Also, to volunteer or to donate to Eleventh Hour Rescue, see the links on its home page at https://ehrdogs.rescuegroups.org

 

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