PARIS —The two largest service clubs in the Oxford Hills have again combined forces as they prepare for their biggest fund-raising event of the year, the two-day auction that kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 10, under the big tent at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

For the 10th year, the Oxford Hills Rotary Club and the Norway-Paris Kiwanis Club are sharing energy, manpower and resources for the huge event that provides much of the money the clubs use to fund their community service projects.

“Every cent that is raised at the auction goes back into the community service efforts,” said Sarah Glynn, chairwoman of the event for the Kiwanis. “We make up the gap in so many programs that are hurting for money. It’s a way to feed back the donations into things we need.”

For several years the two clubs had been running separate auctions over the summer. Finally, Bob Bizier sat down with then Rotary President Curtis Cole and agreed that hitting the same businesses twice for donations was counterproductive. Under the new arrangement, the groups combined the workload and split the profits. Businesses were only asked once.

Admittedly, this year’s economy is affecting solicitations. Companies that might have given a $50 gift certificate are only giving $25, “But they’re still giving,” Glynn said, noting that it takes the efforts of the entire community to make the event a success.

“We did get Red Sox/Yankee tickets again, which is an especially popular item that draws a lot of interest to the auction,” she said. Also, Bessey Motors has again donated a car, a 2001 Dodge Caravan.

Kiwanis President Helga Thurston was in charge of the last year’s auction as president-elect and watched as the problems created by the economy crept into last year’s auction. Car donations were off and dealerships are still struggling. Last year, Bob Bizier donated a camper that was a big draw to the auction.

“We’re looking for quality items that will bring the people out,” Thurston said. No longer accepted are bulky items that broke members’ backs and brought little money. The clubs have received the best donations from with estate donations and people with property in storage containers that they no longer wish to rent.

“We will be glad to provide the lifting assistance to help them clean their containers out,” Thurston said.

John Griffith, who stepped down from the presidency of the Oxford Hills
Rotary Club at the end of June, is one of the two charter members remaining
in the club, the other is George Rice. He said the Rotary Club joining with
the Kiwanis has been one of the best things to happen to the service
community in the Oxford Hills

Glynn and Thurston agree that the best thing the clubs did was to combine their efforts.

“We work well with Rotary, better than any other Kiwanis club in New England that I know of,” said Glynn, incoming lieutenant governor. “We have a fabulous relationship because our members recognize that we’re all here for the same reason, we’re all here for the community, we’re all here for the kids. Doing this project with them makes it a better project and makes it more fun.” The Kiwanis Club will hold its popular pancake breakfast on July 12 under the big tent at the high school, while the Rotary club will hold its annual lobster bake in early August.

Auctioneers this year are Bob Bizier, Paul Arsenault and Paul Thornfeldt. The flea market will start at 4 p.m. Friday and continue Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The auction will run until 9 p.m. each night.

To have items picked up, contact Kiwanian Phil Corneliusen at either 743-6250 or 627-7151 or Rotarian Jack Richardson at 462-8607.

The Kiwanis Club sponsors two youth organizations — Key Club at Oxford Hills and Builders Club at the middle school — and honors the SAD 17 employee of the month. In addition, the Kiwanis Club supports Christmas For Kids, Project Rightstart,
which it founded, the Child Health Center, Camp Susan Curtis and
Project Graduation, among dozens of other community programs.

The Rotary Club sponsors the Interact Club and honors students of the month at the high school.
Some of the other Rotary-sponsored projects are Mittens For Kids, Lobster Feed and Clambake, Holiday Food Baskets, Toys For Kids, and local scholarships. Rotary also supports Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Camp Sunshine, Camp Susan Curtis and the Child Health Center among others.


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