They do auctions a little different in Ponoka — at least at the annual fundraiser for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).
A pair of llamas fetched $250. And then they were sold again for $200. It was only after going on the block for the third time that the donated duo were kept by the winning bidder, earning another $175 for CFGB.
Bidding and then giving the animals back for resale is a tradition at the auction.
“It’s a fun thing — they bid and bid and when they win, they say, ‘Nah, I don’t want it,’” said Peter Doornenbal, a dairy farmer and one of the founding volunteers.
In all, 30 animals donated by farmers, five fresh Holstein heifers donated by local businesses, and other donated items brought in $51,250. That money is matched four to one by the federal government, meaning more than a quarter of a million dollars was raised at the 13th annual auction.
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In all, the auction has raised more than $700,000 — not counting matching contributions — over the years.
Many of the volunteer organizers have been involved since the beginning and are “growing old together,” joked Doornenbal.
But their passion to help CFGB hasn’t waned.
“It’s a good cause and not too much of the money stays behind,” he said. “I’ve been to Africa myself and seen where the money goes.
“I’ve been to Kenya and Tanzania and seen projects. It was a trip I will never forget. They’re not giving the money away, it’s food-for-work projects and they have such a big impact on the lives of these people. That’s why you want to help.”