Committee is still looking for auction items and sponsors for this year’s event

ATASCADERO — The Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS) is moving its annual August fundraiser for 2020 online due to COVID-19.

The popular fundraising event is 14 years old and has raised over $900,000 for the Atascadero Public School District. Organizers are hoping for a big turnout this year as they know budget cuts and a struggling economy due to the pandemic might leave teachers needing more assistance.

The theme of this year’s fundraiser is “Mission Possible” and the “Evening for Education” has become a “multiple-day event” as the bidding for items will be available for a few days.

“We know that if there is ever going to be a year where some funding is going to be needed, it is going to be this year more than most,” CAPS Online Event-Chair Lori Bickel said. “We really wanted the teachers to know that CAPS is standing by them and doing what we can for the classrooms.”

While the auction has been conducted in person every other year, this year, the auction will move entirely online due to the coronavirus, operating almost like eBay, where people from the community can bid on items online and will be alerted when they have been outbid.

The money raised from the CAPS auction is awarded to each school based on a grant process that every teacher is encouraged to participate in. In years past, a committee would evaluate the funds, determine an available amount per student, and award the money to the school based on enrollment. This year, the committee is still looking for creative ways to help the teachers best but won’t know what that is until the school year is closer.

“We anticipate that the process will look a little different this year, but we will be granting towards classrooms in our district,” Grant Chair Nicole Hider said. “Because this is all so new and unknown, we have no idea how successful we will be, so we don’t want to make any promises that we can’t keep.”

Since 2007, CAPS has funded various items like field trips, musical instruments, science equipment, and dance costumes, generally outside the school budget, but could begin helping in different ways come the 2020-21 school year if that is needed.

Just last year alone, CAPS distributed over $58,000 to local teachers and projects throughout the district, including 122 approved grants. The funds went to classrooms from Pre-K through high school within the district, including ACE Academy and Paloma Creek.

The current pandemic changed how the auction operated and changed the type of items that will be available this year.

“We have a lot of old favorites from previous businesses that we usually have in our silent auction,” Hider told The Atascadero News. “We are also trying to be very conscientious about risks involved with COVID-19 and are trying to move away from trips and dinners that people might not feel comfortable participating in.”

The creativity that led to an online auction also led to some new and fun prizes, such as having a victory-style garden planted right in your backyard for you.

The committee is currently accepting items as well as sponsors and encourages interested businesses to contact them through their website.

“We don’t want to put pressure on any particular business to support us,” Bickel said. “But we also know that we have a lot of people out there who have supported CAPS every year and would probably want to do that again this year. We would love donations at every price point.”

Bidding will start as low as $20 and range up into quadruple digits as there are price points for anyone who might want to buy something for a good cause.

The specifics of when the auction is happening and what will be up for grabs is still under wraps a la the “Mission Possible” theme.

More information will be coming out soon via CAPS media blast.

To learn more about CAPS or to get involved, visit atascaderocaps.org.

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