A two-bedroom flat in London. One year’s worth of body massages. Lunch with Mayor John DeStefano Jr.
These items have one thing in common: They were among the hundreds of items up for bid at the ninth annual Hunger and Homelessness Auction, which culminated Thursday afternoon in the Sterling Hall of Medicine at the Yale medical school.
The event, which featured both a live and silent auction, was sponsored by Yale’s School of Medicine and School of Epidemiology and Public Health to raise funds for local community organizations working with hungry and homeless people in the Greater New Haven area.
The master of ceremonies for the live auction was professor Frank Bia, a renowned doctor in the field of infectious diseases. Bia kept the mood light and encouraged the crowd of about 200 medical school students and faculty to feel good about spending money toward a good cause.
In one item up for bid, a private tour of the American Museum of Natural History led by Herbert Chase, a deputy dean of the medical school, Bia waxed comical.
“You don’t have to go to a faculty meeting to see dinosaurs,” he said.
The bidding for this particular item, which also featured a dinner in New York City with Chase, started at $200 and eventually closed at $1,000.
Bia was joined by two guest auctioneers: medical school Dean David Kessler and Associate Dean Nancy Angoff.
During the bidding on one item, a “spinning” aerobics class taught by Kessler, the dean appeared on stage and removed his shirt and pants, revealing a skintight biking outfit.
The proceeds from the auction will be distributed among local homeless shelters and soup kitchens, including New Haven Home Recovery, New Haven Homeless Resource Center and More House Soup Kitchen. Last year, the event raised over $25,000.
Many students and faculty members from Yale’s health professional schools contributed to the auction, which featured a plethora of items ranging from double dates to an hour-long private dissection section with a medical school professor. Businesses surrounding the Yale community — including Alchemy, J. Press and the Educated Burgher — made donations as well.
“It’s been great,” said Jigar Shah EPH ’02, who helped coordinate the event. He said the students, faculty and business community have all been incredibly supportive through their various donations.
“It’s a cool way to promote awareness and bring students and faculty together,” Ruby Dhillon EPH ’02 said. She added that the Hunger and Homelessness Auction has allowed for more personal interaction with the faculty. At last year’s auction, Dhillon and three of her friends successfully bid on having a home-cooked dinner with one of their professors.
The live and silent auctions were part of a weeklong series of events designed to help understand and alleviate the problem of hunger and homelessness in the community. Other events included a canned food drive, a benefit party at Club Med and a lecture by epidemiology and public health professor Robert Rosenheck, who discussed the relationship between mental health and homelessness.