Billings School Hosts 'FUN-raiser'

January 28, 2019 | Education | Renae Young

The word “fundraiser” often conjures up a variety of reactions. However, whatever the reaction, there is one fact that cannot be denied. For many Seventh-day Adventist schools, especially small ones, fundraisers are an essential component in helping to keep the schools running or providing scholarship assistance to students in need.

A popular fundraiser in many areas is a dessert auction. Homemade delicacies are sold for exorbitant prices to excited bidders wanting to support their school and enjoy a baked treat.

Central Acres Christian School in Billings, Mont., recently completed their annual dessert auction. Autumn Paskell, prinicpal, was overwhelmed with gratitude at the generous outcome from the evening and wanted the emphasis to go to the generous God we serve. The amount earned this year was a record. Paskell stated, "This was a great opportunity for a fun outreach with the community … and the school was greatly blessed in the process.”

This annual event is held on the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving so the baked goods can be used during the holiday’s festivities. However, many of the items do not reach the intended destination and are consumed before leaving the building. Even Paskell baked some loaves of specialty bread that were sold hot out of the oven and immediately sliced. As a former home economics instructor, Paskell enjoys baking for the auction.

The auction evening starts with a free supper, followed by an invigorating auction. This year, attendees enjoyed a baked potato bar, with all the ingredients being donated items, which produced a 100 percent profit evening. Paskell and her crew of helpers, including her husband and board members, worked tirelessly in the kitchen to provide the filling meal.

Paskell stated that the school’s auction typically offers more to buy than just baked goodies. There have been donated art work items as well as donated “treasures from senior citizens.” These senior citizens would rather their treasurers benefit the school than collecting dust on a shelf. An added benefit Paskell has observed is how her students’ perspective has changed when they observe the seniors bringing in their donations. “Especially touching,” she added, “… [is] at least three surviving spouses have chosen to donate items that belonged to their deceased loved one.”

Though the bidding on auction night may mimic a battle scene at times, one gentleman who had outbid a lady in the room on a loaf of bread was seen later gifting it to her.

Always the teacher, Paskell says she uses this event to further her students’ language arts skills. Her students write thoughtful thank you notes, which attendees appreciate.

The dessert auction in Billings has proved to be more than simply a fundraiser. It is an event that builds community, inspires giving, increases faith and provides a chance for the younger generation to be involved, all while giving support to the school, teacher and students. A better term for the event would be “FUN-raiser.”