EVE auction draws a crowd

Photo by Michael Kelly Volunteers for EVE, Inc., pack up items from the silent auction tables to move them into the dining room at the nonprofit's 37th annual benefit auction Friday night at the Lafayette Hotel.

The guests were greeted with a smile and a glass of sparkling wine. Outside the Lafayette Hotel ballroom, 14 tables were covered with items ranging from sleep accessories to jewelry.

EVE, Inc., has held a benefit auction for the past 36 years, its main annual fundraiser. Between the silent auction – this year, including items contributed by 130 businesses and individuals — and the live auction, which put 30 high-value items ranging from vacations to original works by local artists – the event usually raises in the order of $25,000.

EVE, Inc., operates a shelter for victims of family violence and offers them a host of services, including counseling, transportation, legal services, children’s programs, education and transitional housing, all available to both women and men. Executive director Janet Wells said the money is used for things, such as utility costs, that aren’t covered by grants, and also as the local portion when applying for matching grants from government agencies and foundations.

“People volunteer their time to set up and run the auction, and we get volunteers and contributions from the community throughout the year,” she said. “We’re also a partner agency with the United Way of the Mid-Ohio Valley.”

Maureen and Brandon Lovett, of Marietta, waiting to receive a glass of sparkling wine from volunteers Jimi Sell and Rhonda Mears, said they heard about the auction from a board member.

Photo by Michael Kelly Guests at the EVE, Inc., 37th annual benefit auction visit with one another Friday night in the ballroom of the Lafayette Hotel. The event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the nonprofit, which runs a shelter for domestic violence and sexual assault victims and provides counseling services.

“We’re here to support her and to support a good cause,” Brandon said.

Michelle Wilson, looking at the silent auction items, said she and her husband came down from Albany to attend, as they have for several years. Her business, Athens Impact Socially Responsible Investments, contributed a gift basket to the silent auction.

“It’s always a great event,” she said.

Ashley and Dustin Brown and Elysia Taylor sat together at a table they’d bought for themselves and co-workers at Peoples Bank.

“After hearing what they do from our chief operating officer, we bought a table,” Taylor said.

Photo by Michael Kelly Jimi Sell, left, and Rhonda Mears offer sparkling wine to two guests at the EVE, Inc. 37th annual benefit auction Friday night at the Lafayette Hotel.

“They really help in the community and they’re well thought of,” Dustin said.

Elysia said she had bid on a large metal sculpture of a flowering plant.

“I bid on it, I like it,” she said. “I don’t know where I’ll put it if I win it, but I want it.”

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks was among numerous local law enforcement members at the auction.

“They’ve always been there to help us. I don’t know how many times a victim of domestic violence has no place to go, and we call EVE and they take care of them,” he said. “They’re a fantastic organization.”

Michael Kelly can be contacted at mkelly@mariettatimes.com.

EVE, Inc.

• Services: Emergency shelter and services to family violence victims.

• Legal advocacy, service coordination, counseling, children’s programs, prevention and education programs, transitional housing, referrals for community resources.

• Established: 1979.

• 24-hour hotline: 740-374-5819.