MOUNT VERNON — Todd Hawkins, chairman of the Ohio Junior Miss Radio Auction, never has trouble finding volunteers for the annual scholarship fundraiser. That could be because the auction is five hours of exciting bidding on got-to-have items. Or, it could also be the result of 24 years of lunches catered by Virginia Barry.
For nearly a quarter of a century, the menu has remained the same — sloppy joe sandwiches, deviled eggs, a relish tray, chips and cookies.
“They don’t want the menu to change,” said Barry. “I think, they think I can’t cook anything else.”
During the very first radio auction in 1986, volunteers were starting to get hungry. Ken Dennis went out and brought back sandwiches for the volunteers.
“No one planned for lunch that day,” Barry said. “I said, ‘Why don’t I fix lunch.’”
“Todd Hawkins likes deviled eggs,” Barry said. “They all eat them, but he seems to really like them.”
“They are really good. I’m not going to lie,” Hawkins said.
While volunteers look forward to Barry’s famous lunch, there are bidders in the auction that keep their fingers crossed their highest bid will hold out to bring home Barry’s homemade red raspberry jam.
According to Barry, her donation to the auction started out about 10 years ago as a joke. She gives jams as Christmas gifts every year and the suggestion was made that she donate jars of the sweet goodness to the auction. Little did she think the annual contribution would become such a hot commodity.
“It goes for way above $25,” Barry said. “People fight over it.”
“That jam she donates usually goes for around $100 every year,” Hawkins said.
In addition to Barry’s jam, 234 other items, ranging from restaurant gift certificates to floral arrangements and auto maintenance will be available during Saturday’s auction. The auction begins at 10 a.m. It is hosted by Dave Bevington and Marty Trese and can be heard on 1300 WMVO radio. Bids can be placed by calling 399-5633 where 10 volunteers will be waiting to take bids. The auction closes at 3 p.m.
“The auction raises scholarship money for the girls. All the proceeds go directly to scholarships,” Hawkins said.