Bainbridge’s Rotary Auction Rummage sale celebrates 64 years of volunteers and helping the community

Annual fundraiser fosters community spirit through decades of dedicated service

Every summer, Woodard Middle School hosts the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island Auction & Rummage Sale. Since 1960, it has grown exponentially, now boasting more than 2,000 volunteers who helped raise over $800,000 last year!

The event’s success hinges on community involvement and diverse volunteers across all generations.

Over the last 13 years alone, the Rotary Club has donated more than $4.2 million to local groups and initiatives, including community grants, scholarships and international humanitarian projects, as well as projects closer to home, including new libraries, pools and parks.

As the event approaches its 64th year, volunteers emphasize the value of the event’s familial atmosphere and diverse opportunities for involvement.

Madeline Garcia, a high school senior who is also a Department Manager, emphasizes the inclusivity of the event, welcoming volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.

“Everyone has treated me with kindness and respect over the years – I’d strongly recommend this event to students in need of service hours or people who’ve just moved here. When you arrive, you’ll see the food, hear the music and enjoy the company of other volunteers cracking jokes. It’s just a very fun and engaging environment and people are passionate about what they’re doing,” Garcia says.

A way for everyone to help

Torin Larsen has dedicated 20 years to the event, and says community support is integral. He describes the auction as a collective effort made up of 2,000 teammates striving towards a common goal.

“As experienced volunteers, we work hard to make sure people feel welcome and let them know when they arrive that there’s certainly a place they can help. Through the orientation they get to figure out the areas they can help, whether through their knowledge, organizational skills, expertise in a particular area, or even lifting furniture.”

Tom McCloskey, 3-time Auction Chair from the Rotary Club, acknowledges the event’s growth over the years. From its humble beginnings in 1960, it has evolved into a significant fundraiser, thanks to the dedication of volunteers past and present.

“This event is not an overnight success. It’s grown incrementally over the years but it took a long time for us to break the $100,000 mark. It’s really been in the last 10 years we’ve seen a considerable increase in the amount of items received and the revenues earned,” McCloskey says.

“At the end of the day, it’s really taken since 1960 to the present to get where we are now. I’m so grateful to have been a part of this community and I hope we get to see many more young faces come out and support the next generation of auction organizers.”

To join the fun, volunteers can sign up digitally starting May 9 or contact the Rotary Club directly at RotaryAuction@BainbridgeIslandRotary.org.

Donations are accepted daily from June 29 to July 2 from 8a.m. to 7 p.m. as well as July 3 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The preview night will take place on July 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the official sale will start at 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 6.

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