BY ROSIE PIGA PIZZO
As its single largest donor, the Auxiliary to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington has made a difference in the lives of Bloomington children for 50 years. The Auxiliary, which currently has 24 members, provides monetary support through annual fundraisers and offers programs for children at for all three local Boys & Girls Clubs units: Lincoln Street, Crestmont, and Ellettsville.
“Our objective is to point the spotlight on the Clubs and to show that community involvement is important, especially for our youth,” says Auxiliary President Jamie Morris.
Two yearly fundraising events bring the community together to support the Clubs. The Strawberry Shortcake Festival, held in May, has been a Bloomington tradition for more than 30 years. Along with serving strawberry shortcake on the downtown Square, Auxiliary members deliver 500 pre-ordered shortcake kits to offices the day before. “People will clap when you walk in,” Morris says.
A fundraising auction is held each autumn. While the auction used to be held during the day, moving it to a later timeslot has proven advantageous. “Once the auction was moved to the evening, a significantly larger amount was raised,” says Lindsay Root, Auxiliary treasurer. The most recent auction raised approximately $70,000.
“Members remember when it started in the basement,” Morris says. “Now it’s morphed into a gala.”
Providing activities at each club unit is as important to the members as raising funds. “One of the members’ first goals is to interact with kids of the clubs, so the kids can have someone beyond staff,” Root says.
Members also interact with 200 kids at weekly Friday dinners at the Crestmont Club. Member Jaimie Schwartzman, owner of BuffaLouie’s, allows the Auxiliary to use the restaurant’s kitchen to make the meals. “When the demand increased, her experience and knowledge helped keep it going,” Root says. “Jaimie’s there every Friday.”
Those interested in becoming an Auxiliary member can join for a $65 annual fee. Auxiliary membership is a five-year commitment.
To find more information, visit auxiliarybloomington.org.