Hopeful Distancing Auction Recap

Ed Graf Profile
Article by Ed Graf
Executive Director

"How could we possibly do the Gateway Woods Auction in the midst of all this?"

"Unprecedented." "Never seen anything like this before." "What next?" We’ve all heard or said these words many times in the past six months. And with good reason. Back in March, the global pandemic started changing things immediately, and in some ways, perhaps permanently.

And what would this mean for the 44th Annual Gateway Woods Auction? This amazingly wonderful event that is a live auction and family reunion wrapped into one, and draws 2000 people from all over the country every August. How could we possibly do the Gateway Woods Auction in the midst of all this?

But on May 11th, a decision was made. The Auction as we’ve known it for forty-three years would need to change. But change to what? There was so much to figure out and reinvent. And Auction day was only eleven weeks away. A rough plan evolved and as you, the Church, started to learn what was happening, you responded. And you did so in a big way.

First, you mailed in donations. You knew it was different this year, and you wanted to help. Then, Team 224 created an individual and virtual ride. Many of you rode with heavy hearts, contemplating that one of the passionate leaders of Team 224, Sister Lizzie, had finished her earthly race. Her bike, unoccupied. Others held events in their local communities. It really was still possible to get an ice cream cone, a lemon shake-up, and contribute to the cause.

And finally came online Auction day. But starting on Thursday instead of Saturday. And in less than an hour, all of the 224 items had at least one bid.

By Friday night, the Auction was more than halfway through! Hundreds of you tuned in to an hour of song, testimonies, memories, and encouragement! And you were such an inspiration to all of us! It was great fun to see greetings come in from around the country.

As Saturday dawned, the pace quickened, and the bids soared. It was nearly like the live Auction, and we could feel you out there, loving, cheering, and supporting the kids.

And then the day was done. And what a day, week, month, and season it was! Hopeful Distancing: The 2020 Auction Experience was blessed beyond belief and anticipation – and all of you are to thank for it. Thank you so very much for your love, prayers, work, support, and donations. At 6 PM on Auction Day, exceeding our wildest expectations, we were staggered to consider that the Lord blessed His Gateway Woods ministry with $701,750. Words cannot express the humble sense of gratitude that swept over us. And now, as of this writing, the total is over $765,339 with more still coming in!

"Unprecedented?" "Never seen anything like this before?" "What next?" Yes, the entire 2020 Auction Experience was all of that and more. What an amazing reminder that with God, not only are all things are possible, but sometimes the unexpected happens.

Ed Graf is currently the Executive Director of Gateway Woods. He has also worked as a Houseparent, Board Member, Child Care Supervisor and Residential Program Director.