Offering one-of-a-kind items that aren't typical doorbusters, Lexington Habitat for Humanity will kick off its annual Bids 4 Builds fund-raising auction on Black Friday and continuing through Dec. 2.
"It's a really unique way to shop for the holidays and benefits a very worthwhile organization at the same time," said Dana Stefaniak, resource development director for Lexington Habitat for Humanity. "I think that's what people love about this project."
This year's auction again offers unique items among the more than 200 items or packages featured.
Among those is the opportunity to have a custom message posted for three days on the Bryant's Rent-All sign on South Broadway.
The iconic sign "is really coveted space to say the least," Stefaniak said. "For them to donate that space to the highest bidder is a really unique way for a business to support Lexington Habitat."
Company president Terry Bryant said Habitat is a good cause that Bryant's Rent-All also supports by providing tents during home construction.
"You see a difference in the community when these Habitat houses go up," he said.
The Local Taco, a restaurant on South Limestone, has donated the opportunity to name a special taco and help select its ingredients. The taco will be featured for up to a week.
Gigi's Cupcakes on Richmond Road has donated the opportunity to name a flavor with a portion of the proceeds from sales of that flavor also going to Habitat.
Longtime University of Kentucky Wildcats fans will also find memorabilia from decades past including a basketball autographed by Coach John Calipari, as well as past head coaches Joe B. Hall, Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith.
In total, last year's auction raised more than $9,000 for the organization, up from $6,000 the year before. Stefaniak is hopeful this year's will raise $12,500. If the auction raises $10,000, insurance company State Farm has said it will donate $5,000.
Stefaniak said that would be ideal because Habitat's need is greater in the coming year. While the organization plans to build 16 houses next year, which is one fewer than this year, it's embarking on a new program in use by its parent organization.
Called "A Brush With Kindness," the program brings volunteers into neighborhoods to tackle smaller projects such as repairing roofs and making homes more energy-efficient.
"People often think about getting involved and helping Habitat, and they feel they have to come out and swing a hammer," Stefaniak said. "But what a wonderful opportunity this is to support us and do the exact same thing because we're raising the money to build houses."