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Auction to aid violence victims:Purse auction set for May 2 at The Hangout

A variety of purses are being inventoried at The Hangout for the May 2 auction.

Credit: Free Press
A variety of purses are being inventoried at The Hangout for the May 2 auction.

COTTONWOOD — A simple purse can help change a life forever.

The Hangout in Cottonwood will be the host for the YWCA Purse Auction, Saturday, May 2, 4 p.m. This fund-raiser will raise money for the Grangeville YWCA for local victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Area residents are asked to donate empty or full purses to be auctioned off and sold at the benefit.

“The proceeds from these purses will go to the YWCA in Grangeville which helps victims from Idaho County and the surrounding area,” explained Debbie Schnider. She and her husband, Ron, own The Hangout.

Debbie said The Hangout employees have gotten together for the past three years and, with the help of Kristy Beckstead, Grangeville YWCA advocate, have made totes for families – especially women and children – affected by domestic violence.

“I just asked employees to bring whatever was on their hearts and we ended up with eight totes last year,” Debbie said. “These included candles, washcloths, blankets, toiletries, games and more.”

Debbie said Beckstead had 10 women who needed items so they quickly made up two extras and put the items in bags.

While doing this, Debbie asked if there was anything else she could do to help. Beckstead said there had been no fund-raising efforts for the Grangeville-based YWCA and help could really be used in this area.

“When she said Lewiston does a purse auction and explained it to me I said, ‘OK, let’s do it!’” Debbie said.

Since then, purses of all shapes, sizes and contents have been coming in. And they’re not only for women, either.

“We have man bags, handyman bags, games in a bag, little girls’ purses, diaper bags, fishing and woodworking-themed bags, movies, food certificates – you name it,” Debbie said. “The response from our communities has been wonderful.”

Beckstead the event will be a live auction and there may be some surprises where money may in a purse or simply “mystery items.” She added this is a fun way to approach a serious subject while helping those in desperate need.

“We are raising money for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Idaho and Lewis counties and the general surrounding area,” she said. “We can help keep victims safe but often they face barriers such as childcare during court hearings, having enough food or diapers while in safe shelter, or car repairs to allow them to get to appointments. This fund-raiser will help fill the gaps.”

Debbie said she has had people ask her if domestic violence is “even a problem here.”

“I’m always surprised – but what I say is, ‘even one incident, one person, is too many,’” she said. “We are honored to be able to help in this way, and I plan to help make this an annual event.”


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