Make A Difference auction raises nearly $160,000 for refugees

Since 2001, charity auction has brought in more than $1.4 million for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

Bob Brandsma collects bids during Thursday's Make A Difference auction.

Bob Brandsma collects bids during Thursday's Make A Difference auction.

Thursday’s Make A Difference auction at McClary Stockyards raised a record amount of money, with final proceeds to Canadian Foodgrains Bank expected to near $160,000.

That’s an increase from last year, when the auction raised almost $115,000.

The money, which will be matched four-to-one by the Canadian government, will go to help refugees from conflict in South Sudan.

A wide array of goods were auctioned off Thursday, from electronics and power tools to feed for livestock – and livestock themselves.

Organizers thanked volunteers, the dozens of donors and all the buyers for helping raise funds. Since 2001, the annual auction has raised more than $1.4 million.

Funds raised at the sale will be used to help people in South Sudan. About one million people in that region are caught in a food crisis. After several years of peace, conflict is now raging between the government and a rebel group.

Many of those who are displaced are small-scale farmers, who depend on growing their own food in order to survive. Now living in refugee camps and host communities far from their farms, they are unable to plant their crops.

Canadian Foodgrains Bank is responding by providing food for people who have been impacted. This includes food for young children and pregnant and nursing mothers. Without proper nutrition during critical periods of growth and development, young children will suffer the results of the conflict and hunger their entire lives.