By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The Lafayette-Oxford-University Boys & Girls Club is hosting an online auction as a fundraiser all this month, giving supporters either a head start on Christmas shopping or a chance to treat themselves.
The club is an affiliate of the Boys & Girls Club of North Mississippi. Its programs focus on character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, arts, fitness and recreation.
“We’re not a babysitting service,” said board member Marybeth Marchbanks, adding that members learn subjects from knitting and gardening to etiquette and effective study habits. “I don’t know anything about money, but I love children. These are deserving kids.”
The auction idea came from Marchbanks’ daughter Emilie, who works in music management in Nashville and had helped with similar fundraisers before. She secured guitars autographed by Alan Jackson and the members of Lady Antebellum and area merchants, athletes, artists and writers have responded equally generously with artwork, shopping sprees, sports memorabilia and signed book collections.
Want to be entertained or pampered? Bid on spa and beauty packages, resort getaways, catered dinners and a professionally decorated home for Christmas. There are courtside seats for Rebels and Grizzlies basketball and theater ticket packages to the Orpheum and the Ford Center.
Education’s up for grabs, too, with lessons in horseback riding, golf, gourmet cooking, swing dance and bridge, along with several sports camps and an introduction-to-baking cupcake party.
As much fun as many of the auction items may be, their serious purpose is to support the club’s mission.
“About 90 percent of our funding now has to come from private funds,” said board member Jan Robertson. “We’ve got to keep going what we have, and we’d like to serve even more children.”