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ARC to hold annual Starlight Auction

By Staff | Nov 21, 2019

It is the event the Animal Refuge Center looks forward to every year, where it not only raises large sums of money, but also celebrates its successes throughout the year.

ARC will hold its 25th Annual Starlight Auction on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 6 p.m. at the Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa.

As the ARC’s signature event, the Starlight Auction is an opportunity to gather and celebrate the year’s successes and support ARC’s efforts to help homeless pets in need, which will include a significant expansion project.

Wayne Leinen, ARC board president and executive director, said the auction is the biggest and most important fundraiser of the year.

“It usually raises between $200,000 and $250,000, which is about a quarter of our annual operating budget. We really depend on this event being successful in order to keep caring for the 400 critters we have now,” Leinen said.

The evening will include dinner, music, a silent auction with more than 100 items up for bid and a live auction with 18 items available, with this year’s lineup of goodies being one of the biggest and best ever.

The silent auction baskets feature artwork, jewelry, hotel stays, golf outings, dog treats, cat toys and much more.

The live auction features a four-hour cruise on a 76-foot Lazarra yacht, a Napa Valley Wine Tour, a $5,700 14-carat beaded white gold mesh necklace, a Darryl Pottorf painting valued at $15,000, two-night stays at the South Seas Island Resort and Useppa Island, and a skybox at an Everblades hockey game with a chance to drop the ceremonial first puck.

A central feature of this year’s auction will be fundraising for a planned cat building. Guests will have the chance to donate directly to the project during the auction. The unique design features two, 2,000-square-foot “pods” that provide the cats a screened-in safe space to roam outdoors and indoor kitchen, living room and laundry room.

Leinen said a benefactor who passed away left ARC with money to build another cat building, but it wasn’t enough to complete it. About $70,000 more is needed.

“Her wish was to build another building for cats, but the money has sat in a specified fund until the rest of the money is raised,” Leinen said. “This year, we have a line item in the budget to raise the money. The building would house another 160 cats.”

ARC has a 31-year history of rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing cats and this new home would ensure the mission continues.

ARC is Southwest Florida’s largest no-kill shelter. Its philosophy promises that once an animal is accepted for adoption, it will not be destroyed to make room for another. Its mission is to shelter, adopt and educate. All donations go directly to its efforts to care for and find homes for as many animals as possible.

Individual tickets are available for $100 and sponsorships start at $300. Leinen said there is still time to be a sponsor and to purchase a ticket, as they want to see a full house.

More details and payment information is available at animalrefugecenter.com/all-upcoming-events/the-starlight-auction.

ARC is at 18011 Old Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers. For more information, call 731-3535.