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'Pay it forward' prompts Facebook silent auction and raffle to help those in need

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lorri Sughroue/McCook Daily Gazette Michelle Lamaak, left, shows some of the items she will auction and raffle off on a Facebook page, with proceeds donated to the Family Resource Center, represented by Kathy Haas, standing. The funds will go to the Resource Center's Christmas Fund.

McCook Daily Gazette

McCOOK, Nebraska -- For Michelle Lamaak of McCook, not too long ago, all it took was $50 that made the difference between something and nothing for Christmas.

And now, she wants to make sure others can have the same chance.

A few years ago during Christmas time, "I was pushed between a rock and hard place," Lamaak said. "I had bills to pay, no child support and all my son wanted was a Monster Truck.

"I kept telling him, we'll see, we'll see, not knowing what I would do. It was hard, I'd go to the store and see people with carts full of toys and knowing I couldn't get anything."

She had been going to the Family Resource Center in McCook for clothes, when she was told about putting her name on a list for Christmas.

She did so, and the next day she was told she would receive $50.

"I felt like crying. I felt like a kid in a candy store," she said. Lamaak was able to buy that monster truck her son wanted so badly, plus a few more Christmas items.

Now, with things a little more stable, she wants to pay it forward.

"It's my turn to help someone. This is my way to give back for all those times people helped me," she said, especially for families struggling for Christmas.

Lamaak started a Facebook page, "Here's a Sale, There's a Sale, Everywhere's A Sale, Sale," where funds raised from a silent auction and raffle of donated items from local merchants and individuals will go toward a special Christmas Fund at the Family Resource Center.

Kathy Haas of the Resource Center said that in 2011, almost 100 families were helped at Christmas, thanks to donations from families, businesses and organizations.

"The generosity of the givers was just humbling and the gratitude of the recipients, even more so," Haas said.

Lamaak's Facebook silent auction opened Oct. 1 and will continue one month, until Nov. 1.

She will post pictures on the Facebook page of items donated, including those donated by local merchants. Participants can make bids on the page and Lamaak will notify the bidders at the silent auction if someone bids higher. At the end of the auction, she will contact the winners.

After the silent auction and raffle, a check will be presented to the Family Resource Center, to help families struggling to provide something for Christmas.

And something, as Lamaak knows full well, is a lot better than nothing.

Merchants and individuals donating to the silent auction include: stand with magazine bin-Whitakers; portable laptop cushion table-Alco; gift cards by-Cowboy Tack Up, Fullers, Taste of Texas, Loops Pizza, Farrells, Samways, La Cocina Mexican Restaurant, Walmart; sterling silver 18-inch chain angel wing necklace by icerok-Peterson's Jewelers; Seiko battery crystal desk clock-Longnecker's Jewelry; t-ball set and golf set, 2 in 1 mouse kit and calculator-Michelle Lamaak; four game cards-TJ's Family Fun; glass cleaner, gojo hand cleaner, all purpose cleaner, safety glasses, gloves and clean choice wipes-Fastenals; stud sensor and screw driver with extra tools-Barnetts; fleece blanket and universal duffle bag-VK Electronics; coupon- Pizza Hut; 40 ounce triple insulated thermal carafe- Knowlen and Yate; mini block and spreaders-Eakes; Ram's hat-Performance Athletics.

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