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The population of Minden, La. may be only about 13,000, but the hearts of its citizens make it one of the biggest cities in America. And what gets those hearts going is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The people of Minden hosted the city’s 29th annual Minden St. Jude Auction this past February, raising an eye-popping $509,179 for St. Jude. The amount raised continues to add to Minden’s claim as raising more money for St. Jude than any other city per capita—$40 per person. And the event has raised more than $4 million since its inception.
“Minden is not a thriving metropolis, but people here do open their hearts and their pocketbooks, especially to help St. Jude,” says Laura Hollingsworth, an auction organizer. “We seem to have had more than our share of kids who are patients at St. Jude.”
In 2001, Minden was recognized by ALSAC, the fund-raising arm of St. Jude, as the Volunteer Community of the Year.
The auction began on Minden’s KASO 1240 AM almost three decades ago and has grown to become a four-day telethon and raffle that is broadcast on the local cable station. And while the big prizes at this year’s Mardi Gras-themed auction included a 2005 Lincoln Navigator and diamond necklace, items in years past have included petrified dinosaur dung and emus.
“We get a little bit of everything, but that’s part of the fun,” Hollingsworth says. “It’s all for such a great cause. Every child is an inspiration. They give us even more reason to work hard to help St. Jude find cures.”
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