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Watertown Urban Mission April 5 auction features ‘unique, rare’ items

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A Radio Flyer tricycle, 1870 Bible, decorative plate collections, a wireless back-up camera for a vehicle and a flat-screen television with an accompanying stand are some of the many items up for bid during the Watertown Urban Mission’s annual auction.

A preview of more than 100 items begins at 9:30 a.m. April 5 in the bingo hall of St. Anthony’s Church, 850 Arsenal St. Bidding begins at 10 a.m.

“We set aside things that are antique, unique or rare,” said Andrew G. Mangione, development director of the mission. “These are items you don’t find everyday, so when they come into the thrift store, we like to set them aside, knowing they’ll raise money in this great event.”

People also donate items to the mission specifically for the auction throughout the year.

Items will be auctioned off by local celebrities Johnny Spezzanno, disc jockey at the Border 106.7; Paul A. Simmons, local businessman and partner for local concert promoter AMP Entertainment; and Mel Busler, sports anchor for WWNY-TV 7.

Impossible Dream Thrift Store manager Tammy S. Olivas said the event raised about $8,000 last year, which has been a steady amount the past few years. All proceeds benefit all mission programs.

Mr. Mangione said for the second consecutive year, area churches have been encouraged to participate by creating themed baskets to be auctioned. Winners of the basket competition will receive the inaugural Watertown Urban Mission Basket Award, with a trophy and bragging rights.

Both Mrs. Olivas and Mr. Mangione said the mission is trying to surpass the $8,000 mark, by trying to focus more on how technology can attract bidders and by offering more technology-related items.

Auction items will be posted periodically on the mission’s Facebook page, and a specific event page has been created for the April auction. While cash or checks will still be accepted, the nonprofit may accept credit cards at the event for the first time, Mr. Mangione said.

“We hope it’ll encourage people who might be driving by and don’t have their checkbook with them, and know they can still participate,” he said. “It’s a convenience people expect nowadays.”

About 20 agency staff members and volunteers work together to host the event.

People interested in bidding on items can register the day of the auction.

Also available on the day of the auction will be additional opportunities for people to donate to the mission, including participation in a silent auction and a cash-and-carry table, which will feature jewelry and handbags.

The event is sponsored by FX Caprara Car Companies.

For more information, visit www.watertownurbanmis sion.com.

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