By Audrey Alfson
Special for the Argus
For over 30 years, a dedicated group of residents from the Houston area have sponsored an annual auction and pancake breakfast to raise money for the Eagles Cancer Telethon in Rochester.
Over the years, the event has been held in Yucatan Township, at Money Creek, at the Houston American Legion, and for the past 10 years at the Houston Community Center.
On Feb. 4 and 5, the tradition will continue, but with one significant change: all the money raised during the event will stay in the Houston area to help cancer patients directly.
“We had talked about doing this for years,” said Mary George, a 20 year veteran of the event. After last year’s auction, organizers decided it was time.
George, Larry Connery, Kathy Niesen, Pam Orr and Dorothy Moldenhauer began planning. Their efforts, combined with some donated legal help from attorney Terry Chiglo, resulted in the 501c3 organization. The Houston Area Cancer Support group (HACS) is officially sponsoring this year’s auction.
The money raised by the event, which in recent years has exceeded $10,000, will be a powerful way to help those in need.
“We plan to give rides to appointments, purchase gas cards and gift cards for groceries, help pay bills–anything we can help with,” said George, who is president of HACS.
And all the money will definitely be kept locally. According to their guidelines, benefactors of the money raised will be cancer patients who live in the city of Houston as well as the townships of Yucatan, Sheldon, Houston, Money Creek, Mound Prairie, and Union.
They’re still working on how to connect with cancer patients in need. For now, they plan to put notices in clinics and use word of mouth. The auction itself is a great way to connect as well.
This year the Houston Area Cancer Auction will be held on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. at the Houston Community Center. Food will be available by donation throughout the night, and Hoyt Zenke will be the guest auctioneer.
Auction items are donated by people and businesses throughout the community, and range from birdhouses, blankets and crafts to caramels, cream puffs and pickled eggs. Michael Sieve usually donates a print and George herself likes to make up a box full of mystery items. Last year she made a box full of “something everyone needs” which went for $80. For his donation, the winner received a supply of toilet paper. According to George, it’s that kind of fun, combined with the worthy cause, that makes the evening such a popular event.
If a night of auction revelry isn’t enough, the fundraising event continues on Sunday, Feb. 5, when the Houston Lions Club hosts a pancake breakfast from 6 a.m. until noon at the community center.
If you’d like to help out the Houston Area Cancer Support group, attend the auction or pancake breakfast, or donate items for the auction, contact Mary George at 896-2024 for more information or drop items off at the community center anytime after 10 am on the day of the event.