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'Lights of Hope': Local nonprofit holds silent auction to raise funds for Shop with Cops program

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com
A tree decorated by First Bank and Trust at the Shops of Ardmore. The tree is up for auction to raise money for Heroes with Hope's Shop with Cops program.

Shoppers at the Shops at Ardmore mall on North Commerce Street may have noticed several decorated Christmas trees going up in the halls. 

This isn’t their permanent home, however. The 10 trees, custom decorated by local businesses, schools and organizations, are up for auction as a part of a fundraiser for Heroes with Hope’s annual Shop with Cops program. 

Heroes with Hope of Southern Oklahoma executive director Melissa Woolly said the nonprofit organization has had to get creative with fundraisers this year due to COVID-19. 

“This is just something that we came up with that we thought would be fun and it involved the community,” Woolly said. “It also kind of gives the other businesses something they can do because we know it’s kind of put a damper on things that they can do also.”

Heroes with Hope bought the trees for the silent auction for several different organizations to create their own unique displays. “All we did was just put the trees up and then different businesses or organizations were responsible for decorating the trees,” Woolly said. 

Decorators include Oak Hall Episcopal School, Mercy Hospital, the Noble Research Institute, First Bank and Trust, American National Bank, AAF Flanders, APD Wives, the Carter County Clerk’s Office and the Carter County District Attorney’s Office. 

Each tree has its own unique essence, with ornaments ranging from poinsettias and red mistletoe to Legos, lollipops and ice cream cones. “These businesses and organizations put a lot of work into these trees and they are just absolutely beautiful,” Woolly said. 

Bidding began on Nov. 5 with each tree starting at $50 and bidding will end at 5 p.m. on Nov. 20. All proceeds will go towards the Shop with Cops program. The program is utilized to help children in the community who have been victims of crimes or whose families have fallen on hard times. 

A tree decorated by the APD Wives at the Shops of Ardmore.  The tree is up for auction to raise money for Heroes with Hope's Shop with Cops program.

Throughout the month of December, Heroes with Hope will have scheduled days where officers with the Ardmore Police Department will take children who have been selected for the program shopping.

“All too often people think that these kids may just rush for toys or something like that, but the majority of the time we see these kids, they may purchase things like bedding or pillows, shoes, coats, clothing— a lot of things that we take for granted,” Woolly said. 

Each year the organization takes as many children shopping as possible based on available funds. “It’s a very important program in our community and all of these kids are chosen very wisely,” Woolly said. 

Each tree on display at the Shops of Ardmore has a sign showing who decorated it and information on how to get to the auction site, as well as a QR code that will take individuals directly to the website. Individuals can visit the site online at https://www.32auctions.com/heroeswithhope. 

The website features pictures of each tree and its current bidding price. “While you’re getting a new tree and all the new ornaments and everything, you’re also helping some kids out,” Woolly said. “You’re helping us as an organization to be able to provide for these children in our community.” 

Those looking to help in another way can also visit Heroes with Hope's annual barbecue fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 at the Mill Street Garage, 32 Mill St. NE. Meals are $5 each and proceeds go towards the Shop with Cops program. 

To find out more information about either fundraiser, contact Heroes with Hope at (580) 319-8571 or heroeswithhope@outlook.com.

“We all know that it’s been hard this year. It’s been hard on our fundraising, it’s been hard on some families, so it would benefit just all the way around,” Woolly said. “It would be full circle.”