Robeson County Humane Society Shelter Manager Divinity Morgan, left, and Executive Director Samantha Bennett enlist the help of Tristan in decorating the shelter for the Rescue Wonderland with Lights, Cocoa Auction! fundraiser. The event will take place Dec. 11-13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night.
Tomeka Sinclair | The Robesonian
LUMBERTON — Lights, Cocoa, Auction!
All of the above will be offered by the Robeson County Humane Society during its fundraising event, part of which already has begun. The event is an effort to raise money to support operations through the end of the year, and to start 2021 off right.
“I think it will be a nice little fun thing for people do and take their kids through and forget about COVID for a while,” said Samantha Bennett, county Humane Society executive director.
The “lights” and “cocoa” in the Rescue Wonderland with Lights, Cocoa Auction! drive-thru event will take place Dec. 11-13, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each day, at the shelter located at 3180 W. Fifth St. in Lumberton. Attendees will have the opportunity to drive through the Humane Society, which will be decked with Christmas lights and holiday decorations. Signs will be placed to direct motorist down the correct path.
If participants wish to, they can exit their vehicles and walk around to appreciate the lights up close and take photos. Santa and Mrs. Claus and a few “reindeer” may also be in attendance. Elves will be handing out cocoa and accepting donations.
“We’ll accept donations of supplies, pet food, litter, Pine-Sol, bleach, laundry detergent. Whatever people want to donate, we’ll have elves to take it,” Bennett said.
The “auction” portion was launched Wednesday and will run through midnight Dec. 13. Those wishing to donate to a good cause while also obtaining some unique items can place their bids at the Humane Society’s Bidding Owl account. The link is available on the shelter’s Facebook.
Donors can choose from a Craftman Air Compressor; a luxury three-night stay in a three-bedroom cabin near Asheville; a Berry Kitchen Collection complete with a jam jar, trivet and canister; and four free passes to Cypress Lake Green. Other auction items include a gift bag filled with pet treats, toys and decor; a Bissel portable pet bath; metal practicing target; and jewelry items, including a bangle, earrings, and a bracelet from a donor’s travels to India.
The auction items have a combined value of about $1,300.
“Everything is donated,” Bennett said.
The Rescue Wonderland with Lights, Cocoa Auction! is meant to replace the annual Bark at the Moon fundraiser, which is one of the nonprofit’s top money-generating events. This year’s event was cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions, which forced Bennett to go back to the fundraising drawing board.
“I was racking my brain trying to come up with something to do,” Bennett said. “The COVID thing put a damper on holding something inside of the building, so I started thinking ‘Heck, why don’t we pimp out the outside,’ that way they can socially distance from their car and then they get out and look at the lights, wear a mask and stay apart from each other.”
Most people don’t know how much Robeson County Humane Society depends on private donors, Bennett said. Grant funding is typically used for programs and services, but the facility’s day-to-day operation is substantially dependent on donors’ generosity.
“Nonprofits depends on the donors to pay salaries and utilities, and literally everything runs off of donated funds, and when those are down it impacts everything,” Bennett said. “The day-to-day operations are impacted by that so there’s where were struggling.
“That’s why we’re trying so hard to raise money and do what we do — take care of the animals and find homes for the Robeson County animals.”
The nonprofit is depending on the event to carry on operations through the year.
“I really hope it will be a success. I pray it be a sucess because we really need it,” Bennett said.
She’s hoping the inaugural event will become a tradition.
“This may become a tradition we do every year. A lot of people love Christmas lights and a lot love animals,” Bennett said. “I think it will be a really good event.”
The humane society is still accepting items for bid. For information on how to donate an item, send an email [email protected] or call 910-738-8282.
Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.