Building a house during the 2013 Mexico Mission Trip. Photo by Laura Erickson.
By BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
This weekend, the organizers of the Mexico Mission Trip are hoping others will open their hearts and wallets to help them volunteer even more.
The United Church of Los Alamos and the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos will embark on their annual spring break trip to benefit three families in Mexico next month.
This weekend’s auctions is their big fundraiser. The event is a combined silent and live auction to raise approximately $14, 000 for the building materials and travel costs for a team of approximately 60 members to do the manual labor. The silent auction is 2-3 p.m. Sunday at the United Church, 2525 Canyon Road. Items include a baby grand piano, a sailboat, an elliptical machine, furniture, hardware, games, toys, jewelry and more.
One highlight of the silent auction is the multitude of gift certificates from haircuts and food to movie tickets and donations from businesses like Frank’s Supply, Glover’s Automotive, Village Arts and the Los Alamos Co-operative Market.
Once the silent auction closes, the live auction kicks off around 3 p.m., under the direction of auctioneer Mike Lippiatt. Lippiatt will keep the prices moving up, as item after item goes up for bid, including art work, fancy foods, as well as labor and fun experiences donated by the community, the congregation and most importantly many of the youth actually participating in the build.
Youth and their adult sponsors not only do the manual labor, they pay a portion of their trip expenses, work the fundraisers that covers some additional fees and contribute their own time and talents to boost the bottom line.
Trip co-coordinator Laura Erickson, along with husband Randy, oversees every aspect of the trip, insuring success year after year.
“There is so much value in improving the conditions of families in Mexico, exposing our youth and adults to a different lifestyle and teaching them they can make a difference,” Erickson said. “I also really appreciate the sense of community and family that develops over the time we spend together.”
While the goal is to increase the living situation for those in dreadful circumstances, the benefits come to both the giver and the receiver, she said.
Seventeen-year-old Los Alamos High School junior John Dermer will head to Mexico for another week of heavy lifting and life changing effort this year.
Last year, Dermer wanted to see is what Mexico was like in the rural areas and how the people lived. The best part of the trip was watching families take possesion of their new houses, Dermer said.