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Trees can be viewed at multiple businesses in Prineville, online bidding Dec. 3-11

JASON CHANEY - The trees sold at the Hospice Christmas Auction support the St. Charles Hospice program. Past events have raised more than $100,000.The Hospice Christmas Auction will not return entirely to normal in 2021, but organizers are planning to mix an in-person element that was absent last year.

Traditionally, the event has taken place exclusively at the Crook County Fairgrounds' indoor arena. One evening has typically served as a free-of-charge open house, which has been followed by the dinner and auction the next evening.

Organizers had to forego that format last year as the COVID-19 pandemic surged toward peak levels and opted to hold a virtual version of the event where people viewed and bid for items online.

In 2021, St. Charles Foundation is hosting a hybrid version of its 30th annual event, which began last Monday and will continue until Dec. 11. It will again feature handmade quilts and elaborately decorated trees, along with other auction items, but they are displayed in locations around Prineville rather than the indoor arena.

The Foundation partnered with local businesses in Prineville to publicly display the trees and quilts. The trees will be on display at various Prineville businesses, while the quilts will be on display in the community room of the historic Bowman Museum.

"The planning starts pretty early. In preparation, we had to understand what was happening in our community and within Central Oregon with regards to the COVID surge," explained Todd Shields, vice president hospital administrator for St. Charles Health System.

Organizers were initially preparing for two versions – virtual and in person.

"We didn't want to have to scramble at the last minute," Shield said.

But since Crook County case volumes and positive test rates were each consistently increasing during the planning process, they decided to go with a virtual auction while enabling trees and quilts to be viewed in person.

"They are beautiful," gushed Laurie Jackson, administrator for post-acute are with St. Charles Hospice.

Trees can be viewed at the St. Charles Prineville lobby, the Kendall Ford showroom, Sunrise Pool and Spa, Coldwell Banker, Dillon's Grill and Club Pioneer.

Jackson went on to note that in addition to the trees and quilts, people can bid on a variety of gift baskets and other unique items.

"We have lots and lots of baskets," she said.

This year, the bidding process will not be confined to a single day. The online auction opens Friday, Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. and ends at noon on Saturday, Dec. 11. Online registration is encouraged prior to the event.

Funds raised will provide support services for St. Charles Hospice patients and their families. The event has recently raised up to $100,000 and despite the limitations of a virtual event in 2020, still managed to bring in $85,000.

"The community support for St. Charles Hospice is untouched," Jackson said. "We are so thrilled for that kind of support. It has been amazing, and we are looking forward to seeing what's going to happen as we continue forward…There is a heart in Prineville for Hospice. It is really moving to see, in the midst of what is going on around the world, that folks are generous and so supportive of Hospice."

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For more information and to register to bid, go to HospiceAuction.org.


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