COTTONWOOD — The old cliché – third time’s a charm – truly describes the success of this year’s purse auction. The third annual Purse Auction, held at Cottonwood’s Community Hall, raised $12,574.40 for the local YWCA branch.

Debbie Schnider said this was $1,500 more than the previous year and exceeded this year’s goal.

“[When it was done,] I thought we did it,” she said. “Our goal was to hit $12,000 and we did it. I couldn’t have done this without the committee: Elaine, Colleen, Rose, Tiffany, Sandy, Carol and Jeanne.”

She also noted there is a misconception that The Hangout coordinates the event. She stressed it is not a Hangout event; and instead relies on the committee of volunteers. Schnider also pointed out Wells Fargo employees play a big role in the success of the event by volunteering their time the day of the auction.

All monies raised support YWCA programs in Idaho County. YWCA assists domestic violence and sexual assault victims, and also raises public awareness of the issues.

Idaho County Advocate Kristy Beckstead said funds primarily are used to provide the basic essentials to women who are leaving an abusive situation.

“These women are leaving with nothing but the clothes on their back,” she said. “We are able to support [victims] through our grant funding, but not adequately.”

She explained grant funding helps provide funding for a rental deposit or assistance with car repair. The purse auction helps provide books for a women’s support group, a phone, and cleaning supplies or other necessities for women starting over. As Beckstead said, the auction started with a need for a broom.

Three years ago, she had a woman moving into safe housing and needed a broom. Beckstead called Schnider who was planning a trip to Costco. Schnider’s next question was, “What can we do? Can we raise money?”

From there a committee was built and the auction grows each year.

For those unfamiliar with the event, donors fill purses of all styles, shapes and color with items. Typically, each is themed and all are auctioned off. Donors also submit items to be auctioned off individually, included in this year’s event were a bear hunt package, a football signed by a Seattle Seahawks player, camping gear and a survival kit. There were items for the ladies and children, as well. 

“We have a very, community-minded community,” Beckstead said. “I want to say thank you to everyone who is supporting this event.”

About 100 people attended, Debbie said, with 80 paddles registered for the event. Five women shared their testimony of how YWCA programs impacted their lives.

“It was very touching,” Beckstead said. “This is what helps these victims get on their feet.”

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