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Hunger and Homelessness Auction nets more than $25,000

When a Donald Trump lookalike blustered his way onto the stage at Café Med at the annual Hunger & Homelessness Auction in November, MC Dan Barson barely skipped a beat. Second-year medical student Tyler Greenway, channeling the real-life Republican presidential candidate, nonetheless riled the audience with his braggadoccio. Wearing a golden-orange, wavy wig and brandishing a red baseball cap that read: “Make H&H great again,” he denounced a long list of losers, including first-year students. But a wall would be built, he said, to protect against the first-years. “And we’re going to make the first-years pay for it,” he shouted, to peals of laughter from the audience.

The Trumpesque interruption didn’t put a dent in the bidding on dozens of items on the block in the 23rd annual charity event, organized each year by second-year medical students. The 2015 tally topped out at just over $27,000, said co-organizers Soonwook Hong and Tejas Sathe. “Though with fees like Paypal, the final figure we will donate to the organizations is somewhere around $25k to $26k,” Hong said. The money will be distributed to six New Haven charities: Christian Community Action, Liberty Community Services, Continuum of Care, Community Healthcare Van, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, and FISH of Greater New Haven.

For the first time, the silent auction portion of the event went paperless. Anyone with Internet access could place bids via the auction’s redesigned website. Before the bidding closed, charity-goers watched a list projected onto a screen in Harkness Hall of the constantly updated winning bids. “We wanted everyone, on campus or off, or anywhere in the world, to be able to participate in the auction if they wanted to,” Sathe said.

Later in the evening, faculty auctioneers encouraged bidding during the live auction. These included Jack Hughes, M.D., professor of medicine (general medicine); Michael K. O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D., assistant clinical professor of surgery (gastrointestinal); William B. Stewart, Ph.D., associate professor of surgery (gross anatomy); and Mark R. Mercurio, M.D., professor pediatrics (neonatology).

Some time-honored items included a round-trip limo ride for seven students to see the Bodies World Exhibit and dinner in New York City with O’Brien. Anatomy professor Stewart continued a tradition by donating one of his lightly-worn bowties. (Physician Associate students continued their winning streak of outbidding med students, paying $3,000 for the iconic bowtie.) New prizes included a custom, NPR-esque voicemail message recorded by Linda Honan, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N., associate professor of nursing. The Indian restaurant Tikkaway donated half a year of free food. The restaurant and bar 116 Crown offered a mixology class for six people. And the Japanese restaurant Miya’s Sushi offered a tasting menu made from sustainable foods.