Women of the Valley, bid!

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Tina Cox raises her paddle while bidding for a purse during WOVEN’s annual Purse Auction Friday night. Photo by Katherine Ramos.

EL CENTRO — Friday night was filled with laughter and not a little good-natured competition at the 7th annual WOVEN Purse Auction, the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Ladies from around the Valley filed into the Old Eucalyptus School House to support the  Women of Virtue Empowerment Network, or WOVEN, as well as enjoy a night of fun.

“We were looking for something that would get the women’s attention and just fun to do,” said Betty Predmore, director of WOVEN, El Centro.

The night consisted of both a silent auction and a live auction which had 39 purses for bidding. Raffle tickets and dinner were also included. Three women gave testimonials of how they benefited from the services WOVEN provides to women, who the auction guests  help through their contributions.

“This is a wonderful organization,” said Tina Cox, a Brawley native who has participated and donated to the auction. “I’ve been able to experience the lives of women WOVEN has touched with all their donations.”

“This event is awesome because it’s all going to a great cause,” said Cami Sturderant of Imperial, “I was really impressed with how generous the women are.”

It wasn’t just the purses that guests were bidding for. Each purse was filled with extra items such as necklaces, make-up, gift cards, and tickets to special events. Predmore stated this year’s purses valued from $60 to $1,200.

All of the purses were donated by businesses and individuals from the Imperial Valley.

The ladies were given leave to “have at it” during the auction and went back and forth trying to outbid each other. The value of the prizes and the equal, if not more important, value of support to a good cause drove the women to bid their hearts out for the purses.

“Anything we can do to help, we will help,” said Predmore.

WOVEN is an organization that provides a support center for women, as well as small group sessions pertaining to all aspects of a woman’s life. Group sessions include classes on parenting, anger management and conflict resolution, drug and alcohol, and marriage.  The services are available to all women, regardless of race, religion, or income.

WOVEN has offices in three locations: El Centro, Brawley, and a new Calexico office. All proceeds raised at the auction will go towards WOVEN.