BANGOR, Maine — For a couple of hours this Sunday afternoon, the Rev. Bob Carlson will be doing God’s work at Hollywood Slots, pounding the gavel at an auction to benefit the Hope House emergency shelter.
Using his best powers of persuasion, Carlson plans to auction off thousands of dollars worth of donated items and gift packages, including a whitewater rafting trip, season tickets to the Bangor Symphony, restaurant gift certificates, a Forrest Hart sculpture and much more. More than 150 area businesses have donated to the fundraiser.
The event, free and open to the general public, will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1, with an hour to browse through the donated items. The auction will start at 3 p.m. and be over by 4 p.m. In addition to free hors d’oeuvres and nonalcoholic beverages courtesy of Hollywood Slots, a cash bar will be available.
Carlson is hoping for a good turnout in support of the worthy cause.
“There are so many demands on everyone’s time,” he acknowledged. “We’re only asking for two hours.”
As president of Penobscot Community Health Care, which acquired the Hope House from The Acadia Hospital about a year ago, Carlson says the need is great for basic improvements at the shelter.
“We’re licensed for 69 beds, but the beds themselves are old and broken and need replacing,” he said. Other needs include lockers, updated kitchen and office equipment, and other furnishings.
Hollywood Slots is hosting the event in keeping with its commitment to combating addiction and homelessness in the Bangor area, said general manager John Osborne. Hollywood Slots regularly donates to the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter and Manna Ministries as well as the Hope House, he said.
“We’re hoping this will become an annual event to raise funds for the Hope House and to raise awareness about the needs of the homeless in our area,” he said.
The Hope House has been sheltering the homeless and the indigent since 1973. In addition to providing a meal and a safe place to sleep, the facility offers medical care and substance abuse treatment as well as assistance with housing and employment. With expanded capacity provided by folding cots, about 100 men and women stay at the Hope House each night.