Rotary Club Presents FROM with Auction Proceeds

Every two years, the Lowell Rotary Club holds its Denim and Diamonds Auction. This year’s gala event was held in April, and at its meeting last Wednesday, the club presented Flat River Outreach Ministries with half the proceeds.

“We took a year off, [and] it felt like we were relearning some things,” said member Dawn Broene during the meeting. But that didn’t seem to negatively affect the club’s ability to raise money. “This was the top amount raised at any auction,” she said.

In total, the 2022 Denim and Diamonds Auction raised $64,004. Of that, a check for $32,002 was presented to Flat River Outreach Ministries, this year’s designated non-profit recipient. The other half will be held by the club to fund international humanitarian projects throughout the year.

“This really takes the pressure off how we are going to make the [kitchen renovation] work,” said FROM executive director Wendie Peiss in accepting the donation.

FROM is currently in the process of renovating its kitchen space, which is used by its food pantry as well as the farm market located inside Treasures Thrift Store. The current fridge and freezers are original to the building and date to 1977.

“The new equipment will be way more efficient,” Preiss told Lowell’s First Look after the presentation. In addition to the new appliances, the kitchen area will be renovated to provide a “more dignified space” for volunteers to use. Additional funds for the project are being provided by the Lowell Area Community Fund.

Previous Denim and Diamonds Auctions were held most recently in 2017 and 2019, and funds from those events went to help pay for Lowell Showboat VI. The expected 2021 auction was moved to this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inaugural Scholarship Awarded

Kaylee Byrne receives her scholarship from Rotary member Mark Mundt.

FROM wasn’t the only recipient of a check at Wednesday’s Rotary Club meeting. Kaylee Byrne was named as the first student selected for a new Jim and Bobbie White scholarship.

The Lowell High School graduate plans to attend Northern Michigan University in the fall. Her major is undetermined at this time, but she hopes to join the ski team. Byrne was the Division 2 state champion for the giant slalom in 2021 and took second place in 2022.

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