Organizers have been busily collecting items for the annual Care Train auction, and some of the more interesting items should go quickly, said executive director Pam Klaus.

Organizers have been busily collecting items for the annual Care Train auction, and some of the more interesting items should go quickly, said executive director Pam Klaus.

"We've really got some amazing auction items this year," Klaus said. "We had a lady come in the other day with tears in her eyes, and donated a mink stroller to us. It had been her mother's, and she wanted it to be put toward a good cause."

Founded in 1987, Care Train works to assist families and residents in Union County by providing food and toys to those in need during the holidays. To accomplish this, the nonprofit organization accepts gifts and donations throughout the year, ending with a large, live auction on the second Saturday in December.

Each year, based on how much is raised in sponsorships, donations and auction revenue, Care Train purchases food vouchers and distributes them to needy families and seniors, according to Klaus.

"Our goal is always just to make sure no one is turned away," Klaus said. "Depending on how much we raise through the year and the auction, we then decide how much we have to spend on food vouchers, and go over how many people we have. Some years we are able to give more than others."

Residents will have a variety of items and packages to bid on in the auction. Items include preseason tickets for a Cleveland Browns game, a rebuilt 1978 Chevrolet C/K 10 series pickup truck (lime green), a 2001 Honda Civic EX sedan, Columbus Blue Jackets tickets, a party for 40 at Rick's Grill, a 2000 Ford Taurus SEL, a one-week stay in Orlando, a 2010 autographed OSU football, numerous OSU memorabilia items, lift tickets to Mad River Mountain, a behind-the-scenes tour for 8 at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, four passes to the Funny Bone Comedy Club, a ride in a local fire truck, and many more items. A complete list of this year's auction items can be found online at www.caretrain.org.

Klaus said that although Care Train organizers hope to have all auction items donated by Thanksgiving, they won't turn anyone away wishing to donate something for the auction.

Along with donating items, those wishing to help the Care Train can take a more hands-on approach, Klaus said.

"We're always looking for people to adopt a family, so right now we have a lot of folks coming in saying that they would like to adopt a family, so we send them information on the kids' sizes, their Christmas wish lists and things like that," Klaus said.

The Care Train experienced a record year in 2009, collecting about $127,000 in donations for the year. About $116,000 of that was raised during its December auction.

This year's auction is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at McAuliff's ACE Hardware, 1299 W. Fifth St., Marysville. A current list of auction items, along with information on volunteerism and where to drop off donations, can be found at www.caretrain.org, or by contacting Klaus at caretrain@rrohio.com.