The Pekin AMBUCS are looking for the always plentiful donors and volunteers of the community for its 47th Annual AMBUCS Charity Auction.

The Auction will open at 5 p.m. Friday, May 4, at the Memorial Arena. The bidding will start at 6 p.m. The event will have the usual menu of brats, pork chop sandwiches, strawberry shortcake, popcorn and other treats. There are a couple of hitches the organization needs some help with.

The AMBUCS typically has a huge cake that is auctioned off each year and, in the past, bought by one of the banks for about $1,000. This year there has been no takers on a sponsorship for the cake. Hall said the cake will have to be discontinued if someone doesn’t sponsor it. The sponsor company typically donates it back and pieces are sold for $1 each. Pekin Community High School’s culinary arts class has made the cake for the past few years. Hall said the economy and fewer locally owned banks may be the reason for no sponsor this year.

AMBUCS Secretary Jay Hall is asking for volunteers to help set up starting at 5 p.m. on May 1-3. Steger’s Furniture, the Hope Chest and Hamm’s Furniture all donated trucks to pick up items. Fifteen volunteers will be needed to help pick up the items. To arrange for pick up, which starts April 1, call Sue Kerr at the Hope Chest at 267-3210. Two of the main volunteers will be unable to help this year, so additional help is needed, said Hall.

The auction is a big affair every year with three rings running at all times, said Hall. All of the items are donated.

“We’re looking for nice auctionable items, so if anyone has anything they’re ready to get rid of and still in great shape we would love to hear from you,” said Hall.

The organization is also in need of new items and gift certificates from local businesses, vehicles, sports memorabilia, collectors items and more. Some of the most popular items are furniture, cars, new items, gift certificates and collectibles, said Hall. Receipts are provided for income tax deductions.

The AMBUCS cannot accept pianos, electronics or computers, televisions or used bedding.

Hall was named general chairman for this year’s auction on May 6. Each year only a handful of club members know who will be named auction chairman. He previously served as auction general chairman in 2013. He has been a member of the AMBUCS for nine years and served in various positions.

“I’ve always been taught that it’s better to give than receive,” he said. “It fits well with my Christian upbringing even though we’re not a Christian Organization per say. I believe it’s my duty to give back to the community as long as I am able.”

The AMBUCS Auction started in 1972 and, in the 46 years since, has raised $1.2 million. The most successful auction was in 2012 when $52,500 was raised. Hall set the goal this year at $35,000. The AMBUCS donate to more than 2-dozen local charities and nonprofit organizations.

The AMBUCS provide AmTrykes for children and adults with physical disabilities, take AMBUCS “Good Bears” to children at UnityPoint Health-Pekin and provide funds to the Boys & Girls Club of Pekin, Pekin YWCA, Shade Youth Camp, scholarships for therapists, and much more.