EL CENTRO â€“ With cash in hand and ready to bid on luxurious purses, numerous women attended the SixthÂ Annual Women of Virtue Empowerment Network (WOVEN) Purse Auction Gala fundraiser Friday evening at the Old Eucalyptus School House in El Centro.
The eventâ€™s live and silent auctions of over 40 high-end designer purses, including Coach, Michael Kors, Juicy Couture, Anne Klein, Dooney & Bourke, Betsy Johnson, Guess, and Antonio Milano, brought out 280 women to the event and helped raised over $30,000 to support WOVENâ€™S help centers in Brawley and El Centro.
Attendees were also able to write in bids on silent auction items that included purses, jewelry, Bibles, makeup, numerous crosses, gift cards and even a “Slurpee a day” for one year from 7-Eleven.
â€œThis was an idea created by my sister-in-law, Stacy Chandler, and myself,â€ said Betty Predmore, founder of WOVEN. â€œThis was a far-fetched idea, and six years later, here we are. The purse auction is our major fundraiser where we raise the majority of money to keep our centers open.â€
Currently, WOVEN has two locations in Imperial Valley. Betty Predmore is the director of the El Centro facility and Stacy Chandler, co-founder, directs the center in Brawley.
â€œGod has put us (WOVEN) here to support all women and help them with whatever we can to succeed in life,â€ said Predmore. â€œI love what I do.â€
The evening began with prayer and several testimonies from members of WOVEN who spoke of how the organization helped them through difficult times.
Accompanied by her mother Sara Reeves, 7-year-old Jacey bid on a white Danielle Nichole purse filled with makeup during the silent auction, hoping no one would outbid her.
â€œI love coming here every year and supporting WOVEN,â€ said Reeves, who also decorated the venue.
Through the years, Predmore said she has seen a significant increase in purse donations as well as assistance with the annual event.
â€œNot only do we have women from Imperial County, today, we also have visitors from Irvine and Wisconsin,â€ said Predmore. â€œHopefully some of these women will take this idea back to their community and implement it as well.â€
As Alexis Brown, the evening’s emcee, and auctioneer Woodie Fenley took the stage, women promptly searched for their paddles and showed they were ready to bid.
â€œI love coming here because there are 300 ladies,” joked Fenley. “The odds are in my favor, but of course Iâ€™m going to go home with my lovely wife.â€
Guest A.J. Gaddis was ecstatic after outbidding numerous women with her final bid of $1,875 on a red Antonio Milani purse filled with over $1,000 worth of gifts including a trip to Disneyland, donated by Spread the Love Charity.
â€œIâ€™m so excited, this is perfect,â€ said Gaddis. â€œWe are taking my granddaughters to Disneyland next week, so this is perfect.â€
Gaddis said helping women in need brings her great joy and encourages everyone to participate for such a great cause.
â€œWe were very excited donating this purse (the red Antonio Milani with Disneyland trip),â€ said Jessica Solorio, founder of Spread the Love Charity. â€œWe named the purse â€˜the happiest place on earthâ€™ because it has everything you need to go to Disneyland: entrance tickets, parking tickets, hotel, fuel, restaurants, cash and other gifts. Most of the items were donated by volunteers like IV Paint Center, Sun Community, and Trend Setters.â€
â€œThis is the first year we’ve participated and we were very excited to see how much money was raised. This is definitely something we want to continue to do next year,â€ said Solorio.
WOVEN is a support center for women whose goal is to empower them to be the very best they can be by facilitating small group sessions pertaining to all aspects of a womanâ€™s life.Â Examples of small group sessions include parenting, anger management and conflict resolution, drug and alcohol counseling, and marriage.Â WOVEN also offers individual counseling by licensed Christ-based counselors, and a confidential environment for women to come together for private discussions and support and assistance with filling out legal paperwork, applying to college, creating resumes, applying for jobs and finding support for special needs of children.[envira-gallery id=”75682”]