By Laural Samson 
BELLEVILLE – The United Way in Hastings and Prince Edward County has had do their fundraising a little differently this year.
To support this year’s featured campaign ‘Response to Recovery’, the United Way HPE  has launched a virtual auction , which is one of the many creative solutions not-for-profits have had to find in light of the pandemic.
“United Way Hastings and Prince Edward, as with most not-for-profits, had to cancel several of our events this year.” Melanie Cressman, director of donor relations at United Way HPE, said.
“So this is an online, virtual auction that is taking the place of some of the events that we had to cancel. And the goal is to recover some of the revenue that’s going towards our 2020 annual campaign.”
The ‘Response to Recovery’ campaign is especially important, as it was created to help other not-for-profits with their programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cressman said.
Some of these organizations include The Community Indicators Project, Youth Habilitation Quinte, and Abigail’s Learning Centre.
“Any money that is raised during this campaign will go out in allocation to not-for-profits in the Hastings and Prince Edward County that are delivering programming on the front line of the social service industry.”
And while the goal for the virtual auction is $10,000, Cressman said that this auction has already been able to help the community in a ‘win-win’ sort of way.
“We’ve had a number of larger corporations in the area, as well as individuals, donate money to the auction, and we’ve taken that money and in turn, supported our local small business by purchasing items for the virtual auction locally.”
And while there is certainly something for everyone, one of the most unique prizes is a salmon fishing trip on Lake Ontario with the new police chief Mike Callaghan, who couldn’t be more excited.
“I am very happy and humbled to be able to help out the United Way in this fundraising opportunity.” Callaghan said, before adding this he was the one that came up with the idea.
“It’s a passion that I have. I thought it would be a great way to solicit a fundraising opportunity in this context.”
The auction will be running from Nov. 23 to Dec. 15.
And with 100 people already registered to bid, the United Way invites everyone to come and see the items for themselves, Cressman said.
“The more the merrier!”