The 40th annual Minden St. Jude Auction raised more than $1.4 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a record for the event, which was held February 4 – 7 in Minden, Louisiana.
What began 40 years ago as a one-day radiothon that raised $10,000 has become a four-day telethon surrounded by community events that together have raised more than $15.3 million for St. Jude over the years. The events included a Kid’s Day, a bass-fishing tournament, the Louisiana State Championship Chili Cook-off, and the 2016 Minden Run for St. Jude, in which runners can choose to compete in a 5K, 10K or a half marathon.
The event is a tradition in the town of 13,000, where the auction is televised by local cable channels, aired by KASO/KBEF radio and streamed on the Minden St. Jude Auction’s website.
One of the auction items was a backyard playhouse, built by members of the Minden Fire Department. The playhouse was designed in the style of The Wizard of Oz to fit the theme of this year’s event: “There’s No Place Like St. Jude.”
Every school in the local parish also participates in fundraising activities for St. Jude.
“In 40 years, we’ve raised generations of kids who grew up knowing that’s what they were supposed to do — to volunteer, and give, and help in any way they could,” event chair Melissa Brown said. “So now we have grandchildren, and some great-grandchildren participating because their parents did it, and they grew up thinking that’s what you are supposed to do.”
Hundreds of volunteers support the auction, including those who cook meals to be sold during the weekend, with all proceeds donated to St. Jude.
“We’ve taken a number of volunteers up there to visit the hospital, and a lot of people have seen what their dollars do,” Brown said. “You can’t come away from there without feeling like you need to do a little bit more than what you just did.”