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Auction items sought for Special Populations fundraiser

By Staff | Apr 7, 2015

The city’s Special Populations is in need of items to auction off at an upcoming fundraiser.

The 7th annual Fashion Show and Auction will take place on May 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Palmetto-Pine Country Club. Hosted by the Guardian Angels for Special Populations, the event will consist of three auctions, as well as a runway show featuring summer looks by the Bell Tower Shops.

All proceeds will benefit the participant programs available at Special Populations.

“It’s all for activities that we offer,” Vince Marcucci, president of the Guardian Angels, said.

Currently, there are about 80 individuals enrolled in the Special Population day program. Another estimated 60 individuals take part in the after-school and evening social programs and special events. Special Populations focuses on individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, or both.

While program participants take part in or help out with other fundraisers hosted by the Guardian Angels, like the annual golf tournament or walk, the fashion show is always a group favorite.

“The fashion show is really one of the most fun things we have for them,” he said.

Marcucci explained that the participants, who may have down syndrome, autism or such, get to serve as the models in the show. They pick out their outfits and get makeovers before hitting the runway.

“That alone is worth the price of the ticket,” he said.

The fundraiser will also feature a live auction, a silent auction and a Chinese auction.

“The biggest part is the auctions,” Marcucci said.

Last year, the live auction featured eight big-ticket items, such as weekend getaways. There were approximately 80 items up for bid in the silent auction, with another 70 items in the Chinese one. He explained that people buy tickets in a Chinese auction and put them with various items they want.

“There’s a lot of bargains to be had,” Marcucci said.

There is also a 50/50 raffle held.

Currently, the Guardian Angels is seeking donations from the community for the auctions. Gift certificates for services from various businesses would be welcomed, as well as gift certificates to restaurants. One year a couple donated some collectible cookie jars, and those were a hot seller.

“Everything is up for bid,” he said.

Businesses that donate will be listed in the program for the event.

To donate, call 239-574-0574 or stop by the Freida B. Smith Special Populations Center.

Tickets are on sale now for the annual Fashion Show and Auction. They cost $30 and includes lunch.

“It’s a very popular event,” Marcucci said. “I think we’ll fill the room this time completely.”

There are a total of 200 tickets available for the event.

They can be purchased over the phone with a credit card at 239-574-0574, by stopping by the Freida B. Smith Special Populations Center, or by visiting: www.myspecialpops.org and using PayPal.

The Guardian Angels for Special Populations is overseeing two additional fundraisers.

Special Populations is taking part in the Belk Charity Sale May 2 from 6 to 10 a.m. Charities sell tickets to the public for $5 each; the tickets provide entry into Belk and serve as a $5 off coupon.

“They have only things that are hardily ever discounted,” Marcucci said of the sale.

Participating charities keeps the proceeds raised from the ticket sales.

“We can sell as many as we can,” he said of the tickets.

Special Populations has also partnered with the National Cremation Society for an event. The National Cremation Society will host a seminar in Punta Gorda April 13 and in Matlacha April 15. They will cover affordable options and savings, veterans benefits and travel and relocation protection plans.

The seminars are free and come with a meal.

Special Populations will receive a donation for every person who mentions them when signing up.

For more information, or to reserve a seat, call 239-849-2391.

“At Special Populations, we only do very few events and we’re such a small group, every little bit makes a different,” Marcucci said.

The Freida B. Smith Special Populations Center is at 410 Santa Barbara Blvd.

The Palmetto-Pine Country Club is at 1940 S.W. Ninth Court.

Belk is at 2342 Surfside Blvd.