Auction to fund humanitarian trip

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

Two days of heavy driving, five days of heavy labor and three homes to show for those in need, that is the definition of service, for the annual United Church of Los Alamos Mexico Mission trip.
The long-standing trip has been joined by their neighbors from the Unitarian Universalist Church, a few community members and off they go — to do good deeds for their fellow man.
Laura Erickson and husband Randy have seen the process through decades of service and coordinate the effort each and every year. There are many highlights for the duo as they have seen neighborhoods born of their efforts. Last year, camper Laura found a new one to love or a few new ones.
“Probably my favorite part was watching how our fellow campers from the Unitarian Universalist Church dove right in and became family,” said Erickson. “Their enthusiasm was contagious!”
Once you go on a Mexico Mission trip, you do indeed, “catch the bug,” and then are hooked on changing lives, one week at a time.
As part of the process, the team needs to raise approximately $14,000, to build three homes in one week, all during the Los Alamos Public Schools spring break vacation time.
This weekend, a silent and live auction, supported by local businesses and the donations of friends and strangers will go a long way in making that happen.
The items include a baby grand piano, sailboat, elliptical machine, refrigerator and even a kayak.
Additional items include services from local businesses and donations including a gift basket from the Los Alamos Co-op Market, an art set from Village Arts, a Leatherman from Frank’s Supply and a car care kit from Glover’s Automotive.
Roger Glover understands what the work is all about and even though he attends another church, supports the Mexico Mission trip from the United Church of Los Alamos, year after year.
“The auction is our major fundraiser — the money we raise pays for building materials, camp facilities, and expenses of the trip,” Erickson said.
The youth often pitch in by providing hands on services and skills to boost the bottom line. Often times, one can find babysitting, pet care and yard work gift certificates, the occasional dinner and music lessons or musical performances.
The other side of this trip is the world changing experience that some of the youth take a chance with the first time and then make a lifestyle change to pursue each year.
Connor Schultz, and a high school senior enjoyed the experience of the actual build, in 2013.
“Seeing neighborhood kids come and help on the last day,” Schultz said. “The feeling of our charity work inspiring others was amazing.”
Schultz believed the trip genuinely changed him as a person and that it was his most important week of last year, surely shaping him as a person while sharing the experience with his fellow congregation members of the Unitarian Church.
“My church is literally the most accepting church on the planet,” Schultz said. “UU churches give you the tools necessary to make your own path through the metaphorical wilderness of spirituality.”
The entire crew for the Mexico Mission build hopes you will catch the spirit this weekend and come build on items new and old, to help them accomplish their goal.
The silent auction begins at 2 p.m. and a live auction follows at 3 p.m. with auctioneer Mike Lippiatt on the microphone.