Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 22, 2003
Archbishop for rent in charity auction
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
If you are interested in having lunch with the archbishop at a nice Edmonton restaurant in the near future, make sure you bring enough dough to City Hall Sept. 23.
That's when Archbishop Thomas Collins, along with more than 50 other high profile Edmontonians, will be auctioned off to the highest bidder to raise funds for an Edmonton charity that provides hot meals to senior citizens. The highest bidder will get to take the archbishop for a paid lunch at one of several city restaurants a later date.
Edmonton Meals on Wheels is organizing its second annual auction and Celebrity Box Social to raise funds to subsidize some of the 400 hot meals it delivers daily to needy seniors in the city.
Tickets for the event cost $10 and include lunch and a bid card so participants can cast their live or silent bid for their favourite celebrity. The silent auction begins at 10:30 a.m. and the live auction begins at noon. Collins agreed to participate in the silent auction. Opening bids for all celebrities start at $100.
"Winning bidders will have lunch with their celebrity at one of several participant restaurants at a date mutually agreed on," explained Wheels on Meals spokeswoman Sig Stark. The cost of the meal will be covered through a gift certificate. Stark said the archbishop has already chosen Sorrentino's.
Organizers are hoping to raise $20,000 through the auction. Last year the event raised $8,000 with about 30 participating celebrities. The highest bid for a celebrity last year was $600.
High profile Edmontonians to be auctioned along with Collins include Senator Tommy Banks, MP Deb Grey, provincial Justice Minister Dave Hancock and Councillor Michael Phair. There is also an array of media and sports personalities taking part in the auction.
"We are happy to have the archbishop because he is an influential man in the community," Stark said. "He is somebody who keeps us grounded spiritually."
Stark said several people are already interested in paying to have lunch with Collins, including a Protestant minister who would like to have a word with him.
Asked how much she expects people will pay to have lunch with Collins, she said, "I have no idea how many loyal Catholics are out there."
Collins said he agreed to be auctioned off because he supports the work of Meals on Wheels in Edmonton.
"Of course I'm concerned with the life of the archdiocese itself but also with our role in the wider community and I know Meals on Wheels is a tremendous service to all of the people in the community," he said.
"And so I'm very happy if in any small way I can be of any assistance to them and their work because I know they do such wonderful work. Our Catholic community is a community within a broader community and we always try to do what we can to help our neighbours and to help the work of groups such as Meals on Wheels."