One-of-a-kind auction fosters the partnerships that provide ‘Emmaus Difference’

When United Church of Christ-related Emmaus Homes in St. Charles, Mo., held its first-ever quilt and silent auction May 21, it found that combining the good works of local business and church partners reaped extra benefits.

The event — part live oral quilt auction and part silent auction — was held at Parkway UCC, an open and affirming congregation in St. Louis and a long-time partner of Emmaus Homes. Part of the appeal of Parkway was its location.

Not only did Emmaus already know Parkway from previous events, but it “wanted to partner with a local church closer to the St. Louis area,” says Tim Ryan of Emmaus Homes. “A significant handful of our client’s homes are located throughout St. Louis County, and we thought this would be a great way to further our reach in that area by showcasing our mission and the services we provide.”

The quilts — more than 40 in all — came from Midwest cities and towns across Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Illinois. “The majority came from quilting circles and clubs associated with the UCC,” Ryan adds. “We sent out letters to clubs, organizations, and churches from various Midwestern conferences, as well as included flyers in various conference mailings. This resulted in an outpouring of generosity from our extended UCC family.”

“The recurring generosity and support of churches is [a] vital pillar of support that Emmaus is blessed to have,” he added.

While 30 of the quilts were in the live oral auction, the rest were reserved for a “quilt pull” (a drawing) and the silent auction.

Enter the business connection

For the silent auction portion of the evening, Emmaus relied heavily on its partnerships with area businesses. More than 20 businesses stepped up, donating coupons for 60-minute massages, vouchers for Cardinals tickets, passes to area attractions, gift cards, and much more. And, of course, Emmaus Wine was available to sample.

Several of the donating businesses “have provided items for auctions in the past,” says Ryan. “We are so appreciative of the generosity of our business and organizational partners year after year as they continue to support us through in-kind gifts or sponsorships. Their support allows us to hold these community events year after year and raise more funds for the services we provide our clients.”

Emmaus handbells performed at the auction.

The auction, which netted approximately $7,100, combined the best of local church volunteer partnerships and local business partnerships to create a successful event. All proceeds will help the CHHSM-member ministry support the more than 275 adults with developmental disabilities that it serves in the St. Louis metro area.

“Businesses, organizations, and churches form a foundation of support that allows Emmaus to continue to provide the ‘Emmaus difference’ that lets us provide superior care to our clients,” Ryan says. “Whether it’s through financial support or their [employees or members] donating their time, all three are important to contributing to the overall Emmaus mission.”

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