A bidding war happened Wednesday afternoon in the Gering City Council chambers as staff and department heads bid on lots of fun items to help benefit the United Way of Western Nebraska.

The City of Gering is among 26 Pacesetter organizations and businesses that help set the pace for the annual United Way campaign.

“We’ve been a United Way Pacesetter for about five years,” Gering City Clerk Kathy Welfl said. “We usually encourage payroll deductions or one-time gifts and also raffle donated vacation days. This year, we wanted to do something extra, so we organized a silent auction for city employees.”

With a large number of donated vacation days, the silent auction expanded to include holiday baked items, craft gift items, clothing and even a drone, complete with case. Local Gering businesses also helped out with more donations to help support the United Way.

“This is a fun way to get more of our people involved,” Welfl said. “Some of them might not be a part of the payroll deduction plan but might buy raffle tickets or cookies or something else.”

She added that for the 2019-2020 United Way campaign, the city would donate about triple last year’s amount.

“It just shows what you can accomplish with some extra effort,” she said.

Karla Niedan-Streeks, executive director of the Gering Visitors Bureau, said the city has been a strong supporter of United Way for years and what it does to support community needs.

“This auction was a tremendous idea and got the city’s department heads and employees involved in both gathering things and buying things at the auction,” she said. “The competition is also strong and I’ll probably be in the middle of the bidding. But the main thing is supporting United Way.”

With this year’s theme “United We Grow, the 2019-2020 United Way campaign is helping 15 client agencies reach out to those in need in the community.

They include Longs Peak Council Boy Scouts of America, Buckboard Therapeutic Riding Academy, CAPstone, Carpenter Center, CASA of Scotts Bluff County, Cirrus House Youth Program, DOVES, CAPWN Family Stabilization, Girl Scouts of America, Guadalupe Center, Plains West CASA, Scotts Bluff County Volunteer Center, Camp Scott Summer Program for Handicapped Children, TeamMates of Scotts Bluff County, and the CAPWN Western Nebraska Child Development Center.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at jpurvis@starherald.com.

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