Sedalia Area Literacy Council’s 16th annual Tea and Auction will be hosted Sunday with a wide variety of both silent and live auction items.
“Every year we think we can’t possibly top the quality of things we had the year before and then it happens,” Sedalia Area Literacy Council President Betty Albrecht said Thursday morning.
Auction co-chair Noreen Loveall said they have 83 silent auction items and 25 live auction items this year. The tea and auction will be hosted at Our Savior Lutheran Church on West Broadway Boulevard.
Over the course of the year the Sedalia Area Literacy Council helps promote literacy throughout the community. The tea and auction are the only fundraiser they have during the year.
“We try to fill in the gaps,” Albrecht said. “Schools and literacy groups can apply for grants to us. We want to make literacy a priority for everyone.”
On Thursday, Albrecht had just delivered a box of free books to Bothwell Regional Health Center’s OB/GYN department.
“One of the things we’ve been doing for a long time has been providing a book to newborns, for their families and their parents to read,” she said. “Four years ago we actually published our own (book).”
BRHC usually has 600 births a year so Albrecht said it wasn’t feasible to purchase the books any longer.
“We couldn’t afford to buy them so we published our own,” she added. “We used student artwork from a bookmark contest and they illustrated nursery rhymes.”
Local artist Janice Hargrave created the cover for the book.
“It’s her interpretation of a Mother Goose,” Albrecht added. “Inside it is filled with information from birth … up through school of what you can do to encourage literacy and to encourage reading with children.”
The council is also fostering a pen pal program this year at Horace Mann Elementary School for fourth graders.
“We’ve done it with Washington (Elementary) for several years,” she said. “This year we decided to branch out and try a different school, just to spread us around.”
The council also helps with scholarships each year.
“We do any kind of thing to encourage literacy,” Albrecht noted. “Our mission is building a reader and a library one book at a time.”
Albrecht and auction co-chairs Loveall and Mary Beatty said the goal this year is $5,000, which in turn will go back into the community. This year those attending the tea and auction will find a wide array of items.
“We have something for every one,” Albrecht added. “We have baby things, we have artwork, we have quilts (and) we have wine baskets.”
Some of the items include a pet basket complete with a dog bed created by Jan Walker McNeil, a Mizzou quilt made by Loveall’s daughter Lori Brower, of North Kansas City, and a Star Wars basket created by the staff of Boonslick Regional Library. New this year are a few unusual antique and vintage pieces.
Council member Kathy Higgins donated an antique Thonet Austria Wien child’s bentwood chair created in the early 20th century. The piece comes from her mother’s antique shop in New Orleans. Albrecht said the chair survived Hurricane Katrina.
“We think that’s a neat little fact,” she added.
Carolyn Sperry, also a Literacy Council member, donated an antique doll created by her great aunt, Camilla Walch Knox, a former children’s librarian at the Sedalia Public Library. The doll comes with a small book (1939) made from linen.
“She had an aunt who was a lifelong resident and she was a published poet and librarian,” Albrecht said. “She made these little dolls with corncobs and fabric. This is the first time we’ve had that type of thing to offer.”
“There’s a few different items every year,” Beatty added.
“All the donors have been so generous,” Albrecht said. “We have been very fortunate to have wonderful donations.”
Albrecht said people who have attended previous auctions are now beginning to to donate items as well.
“They want to give, they want to donate,” she noted. “They started out attending but they believe in us so much that they’ve begun donating.”
“It’s grown, it’s so close to so many people’s hearts,” Beatty added.
Also available for auction will be homemade pies by Faye Hunton, pottery by State Fair Community College Art Instructor Paul Allen, a live plant from Moore’s Greenhouse and Flower Shop and a large basket of goods donated by the merchants of Thompson Hills Shopping Center, worth $375.
Albrecht added that many of the live auction items were donated by area schools including SFCC. Students from the Young Writer’s Workshop, hosted by member Angela Roquet in 2015, will also be on hand to sign copies of their published book.
For those who wish to not bid on auction items, the group will have a craft table available with set prices. The craft table will feature potato bags for microwaving potatoes, note cards, Hot Wheel car carriers, and handmade tote bags.
Sam Trelow has volunteered his time again this year as the event auctioneer.
The Sedalia Literacy Council has approximately 20 members and Albrecht said the beautiful thing about the council is that everyone pulls their own weight and works together.
“When I make presentations, I like to say that we are a mini-sized group with a mighty mission,” she added. “I think we really fulfill that. I think we are well respected …. we are totally volunteer and totally supported by donations.”
The 16th annual Sedalia Area Literacy Council Tea and Auction will be hosted Sunday at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 3700 W. Broadway Blvd. The doors will open at 1:30 p.m. and the auction and tea will begin at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and are available at Reader’s World or at the door. For more information, call Albrecht at 827-5082.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss; photos by Faith Bemiss | Democrat