In past years, Laurel Faith in Action has held a one-day fundraiser. But in 2021, the Latrobe-based nonprofit is taking things to another level with a multi-day event.

The virtual Fun in the Sun online auction will kick off at noon today, July 19, and run through 9 p.m. Friday, July 23. Roughly 50 items will be up for bid, while participants will be able to take part in video presentations on wellness topics and pet care along with an online cooking demonstration.

Taylor Kilmer, marketing director for the organization, said one highlight is slated for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday as Dawn Davoli, a registered dietician at Excela Health, will host a cooking demonstration. Participants, Kilmer said, are encouraged to cook along with the video and use ingredients for the baked Ziti and vegetables dish and banana pudding dessert that are posted on the event’s Facebook page.

Kilmer said planned auction items include a seven-day vacation to any Wyndham Hotels & Resorts property; a football helmet signed by numerous Pittsburgh Steelers players; a signed Arnold Palmer Masters flag; an electric guitar signed by the members of U2; signed posters from “Star Wars,” “Game of Thrones” and “Avengers: Endgame,” and baskets with pet items and another basket from DeLallo Foods.

All donations from the event will go to Laurel Faith in Action services, Kilmer noted.

Since 2002, Laurel Faith in Action has matched elderly residents ages 60-plus who may feel isolated or require assistance with area volunteers who can help grocery shop or perform other daily needs.

“We’re not here to take the place of any other organization, but try to bridge the gap,” Kilmer said. “We’re here to provide companionship and assistance, and we’re here to be kind of a friend.”

Kilmer said the organization does not offer medical care but provides transportation services to doctor’s appointments, caregiver relief services for families, and has volunteers who may call participating seniors on their birthday.

“That may be the only call they get,” she said. “It’s a mutually relationship between volunteer and recipient.”

Aside from the many auction items, Kilmer said the fundraiser boasts more than 50 local business sponsors, including primary sponsors Excela Health, McFeely-Rogers Foundation and Bartolomucci Family Medicine.

In addition to this week’s fundraiser, Kilmer said the organization is always seeking more volunteers and business sponsors, along with individuals with creative talents to make Christmas gifts later this year for area seniors.

To view the Fun in the Sun online auction and presentations, visit the organization’s website at laurelfia.org and select the “Events Page.” To become a Laurel Faith in Action recipient or volunteer, call 724-539-4357 for more details.

“We could not do this without the support of our volunteers, recipients and the community,” Kilmer said of the fundraiser. “This is an ‘all in’ effort and we’re certainly grateful.”

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