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Kickback to the Community

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For about a decade, one Broad Street business has used their anniversary month to give back to a community they say has been good them.

Jan Fergerson of Ford, Gittings and Kane Jewelers said the company was founded in August, 1958 so they’ve chosen this time to show how grateful they are to the community.

“Each year for about 10 years now we’ve done the Kickback to the Community project,” Fergerson said. “It’s a great way for us to help local community organizations that may not get a lot of exposure otherwise.”

Kickback to the Community gives Rome and area residents a chance to bid on or purchase special items at the Broad Street store with a percentage of the bidding fee and the purchase price going to a local nonprofit of their choice.

Here’s how it works. Those wishing to bid on items must purchase a bidding card for $10. That $10 immediately goes to a nonprofit of the bidder’s choosing.

“Our customers have nominated three local groups that bidders can choose from but you also have the choice of choosing any other nonprofit whether it’s local or national or international,” Fergerson said.

The three groups on the bid tickets are Chieftains Museum, Mission IsPossible and Summit Quest.

Chieftains is listed on National Register of Historic Places and is a two-story log cabin that once served as the home of prominent Cherokee leader Major Ridge and his family. Now a museum, the home is open to the public as a historic site and interpretive museum for a nominal charge 35 hours per week. The museum presents interpretive exhibits (permanent and temporary), educational programs and special events that pertain to the Ridge family as well as Cherokee history and culture.

Summit Quest is a local organization that provides resources and activities to children and their families affected by cancer. It provides activities, particularly outdoor adventure activities to kids and their families including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, paddleboarding, kayaking and variety of other fun activities free to the families.

Mission IsPossible is a youth-led monthly outreach program which since 2005 has amassed more than 144 months of service, more than 5,000 volunteers totaling more than 20,000 volunteer service hours in the community. The group is organized by an entirely volunteer leadership team and workforce.

Aside from the initial $10 that each organization gets for every single bid ticket purchased, the groups will also get 10 percent of whatever an item sells for.

Items include men’s and women’s watches, rings, necklaces, pendants and even Waterford crystal and a sterling silver serving set.

“We have 60 items to bid on ranging from $125 to $7,000,” Fergerson said. “Customers can come in, purchase a bid ticket from us or from one of the three non profits on the ticket and start bidding.”

She said bidding has started and will end on Aug. 26. Customers can come in, write their names on the bid sheet for a particular item and then have to check back to see if they’ve been outbid. A bid ticket entitles the buyer to bid on as many items as they’d like.

Items are specially priced for the event.

The retail price of each item is displayed as well as the starting bid price which is 50 percent less than the retail price. There’s also a “buy it now” option for those who don’t want to take the chance of losing the auction. That price is 25 percent less than the retail price.

“And remember, 10 percent of whatever you buy will go to the charity of your choice,” Fergerson said. “We’ll write a check to any 501C3 organization you choose. It can be one of the three groups on the bid ticket or it can be any other you’d like. In the past we’ve sent money to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Doctors without Borders and the American Cancer Society. But we always encourage our customers to take a look at local groups who don’t get as much exposure as the big ones but still do very important work right here in our community.”

The bidding is now open at Ford, Gittings and Kane Jewelers, 312 Broad Street, and will continue until 2 p.m. on Aug. 26. Bid tickets can be purchased at the store or through Chieftains Museum, Mission is Possible or Summit Quest.

“Rome is such a compassionate and caring community,” Fergerson said. “We get people who come in just to bid on items because they know the money is going toward these groups. People truly want to give back.”