Hospice agencies go Hawaiian for contributions

MIDDLEBURY — It may still be cold outside, but scores of Addison County residents will be donning loud Polynesian shirts, sipping tropical drinks and doing the hula to Don Ho music at the Middlebury Inn this coming Saturday. That’s the date of the annual Lu’au fundraiser for Addison County’s two hospice care providers.
The fundraiser, to be held from 4 to 6 p.m., will as usual feature great food, entertainment and a raffle drawing for a spectacular prize: A trip for two to Hawaii, including air fare and six nights of accommodations. Donated by Milne Travel, the prize is valued at more than $3,000, according to event co-organizers Elissa Cobb and Stevie Spencer.
“It’s the best deal in town on that day for $25,” Cobb said of the cost of the lu’au party pass. “You won’t go hungry.”
Or thirsty — beer, wine and mai tais are also included, she added.
But the lu’au, which is the Hawaiian word for party or feast, is only part of the story.
Bids are still being taken for donated items in an on-line auction that will also benefit the two hospice organizations. Those items can be seen, and bid on, at www.biddingforgood.com/vthospice. The auction opened on Feb. 28 and will conclude at 3 a.m. on March 11, according to the auction website. The auction will then continue and conclude at the lu’au. Featured items include a Geiger of Austria two-piece suit, a two-night stay at the Brandon Inn (with breakfast), an overnight stay at the Middlebury Inn (with breakfast and dinner), a tandem skydiving experience, quilts, pottery, artwork and a lot of other items generously given by donors too numerous to mention.
“The generosity of people has been mind bending,” Cobb said.
Indeed, hospice services tend to have a very profound impact on the dying patient and his or her family. Hospice staff and volunteers help out the family in many ways, providing some respite care, reading and singing to the patients, or just providing a compassionate ear.
The same auction website allows on-line registration for the lu’au and raffle tickets, which also cost $25 each. Just click on “live event info” on the left side of the page, then click on “order tickets.” There is a limit of 175 places for the lu’au. Organizers hope to sell hundreds of raffle tickets.
Last year’s Hawaii trip winner was Frank Punderson.
One doesn’t have to be present at the lu’au to qualify for the raffle prizes. The second prize is $500.
The announcement of the trip winner is an exciting moment, Cobb said.
“It’s a time of year when people want a warm and sunny place to go,” she said with a smile. “It’s maybe not a trip you would usually buy for yourself. ”
For more information, call Hospice Volunteer Services at 388-4111.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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