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Volunteer has golden touch for raising funds

CARLSBAD — Maxine McIntosh eyes the numerous collectibles near her. No, she’s not in an antique store. Instead, she’s inside a makeshift storage room located in her garage deciding which collectible will be listed next on eBay toward Hospice of the North Coast proceeds.

To date, McIntosh, a Carlsbad resident and volunteer for Hospice of the North Coast Resale Shop, has raised more than $200,000 in the last decade on eBay.

Maxine McIntosh, named 2012 Volunteer of the Year, stands next to her auctioned eBay items. She has raised more than $200,000 for Hospice of the North Coast and will be honored at this month’s North County Philanthropy Council Luncheon. Courtesy photo

Fondly called the “eBay Queen,” McIntosh’s smart business ways has earned her the 2012 Volunteer of the Year award.

McIntosh will be honored at the upcoming North County Philanthropy Council Luncheon in November.

McIntosh is humbled by the recognition. “I was pleased, but really, I’m a private person and I don’t wave my flag,” she said. “I just like to work and help.”

McIntosh has volunteered with Hospice of the North Coast for 20 years. They came into her life when her mother was terminally ill with cancer.

“Hospice of the North Coast was wonderful because I had never been around anyone that was terminal,” said McIntosh, adding how the volunteers, nurses and social workers were fantastic.

Instinctively, McIntosh knew she would volunteer for them one day. And she did.

Jean Cole, the manager of the Hospice Resale Shop in Encinitas, said that McIntosh has served in a variety of roles at the shop since her volunteering started. In addition to manning the eBay site, she continues to work at the shop a couple days a week.

“To me, Maxine has always been an inspiration,” Cole said. “She’s calm in a crisis, always willing to help, and a friend to all she meets.”

When describing McIntosh, Cole said she’s energetic, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, kind and generous.

McIntosh decided eBay was a perfect avenue to help raise more funds for Hospice of the North Coast.

“I kept seeing these beautiful collectibles that we couldn’t sell at a resale shop for what they were worth,” she said, noting how Cole had opened an eBay account months before but wasn’t used yet. Cole warned her that eBay would be a big job but McIntosh continued to beg her until she gave in.

When she got the green light, McIntosh’s son, a computer analyst, came down from Oregon for an eBay tutorial. And she caught on in no time at all.

On average, McIntosh spends about 20 to 25 hours per week on her eBay responsibilities, which includes taking photos of the items, writing the descriptions, communicating with potential buyers, billing and shipping the sold pieces.

“For those who think retirement translates to resting on the couch and watching television, come meet Maxine,” Cole said. “Apparently, she didn’t receive that memo.”

McIntosh has sold nearly 4,000 items on eBay in the last decade. From Waterford, Lenox, Wedgewood, jewelry, St. John fashion, to limited editions, McIntosh knows this eBay business like no one else.

Just recently, McIntosh said, she sold a 1902 Edison phonograph for over $1,500.

“It doesn’t take a rocket science to see Maxine is an extraordinary woman,” said Yvette Williams, publicity and events manager at Hospice of the North Coast. “Her many years volunteering at our resale shop have been genuine, altruistic acts of kindness, and we are the better because of it.”

McIntosh said she never dreamed the eBay auction business would have become so profitable for Hospice of the North Coast. Modestly, she said volunteering has given her something to fill her time.

“Hospice has given me more than I have ever given it,” McIntosh said. “It has given me a group of friends who are wonderful, caring people.”


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