MARIETTA - EVE Inc. celebrated three decades of giving Friday night, as hundreds of local residents pulled out their checkbooks and donated to an organization they say is vital to the community.
The 30th annual EVE benefit auction drew between 200 and 250 guests to the Lafayette Hotel to bid on more than 200 items in a silent auction and 30 in the live auction.
"We try to buy one item every year," said attendee Sherry Hill.
Hill, who attends the event annually with her husband, said it's important to them to support an organization that does so much good in the community.
EVE Inc. provides emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault and to their children. They also provide a crisis hotline, support groups, counseling services, educational outreach, and a victim's advocacy program, said Annelle Edwards, EVE's co-executive director.
In 2011, they sheltered 76 women and 51 children, took 6,873 phone calls and helped 2114 participants.
Sheltered 76 women and 51 children in 2011.
Took 6,873 phone calls for help in 2011.
Has 20 staff members.
Offers shelter, crisis hotline, counseling, educational outreach.
For help call EVE, Inc. at 374-5820
Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said EVE's services are a big help to the sheriff's office.
"We run into people on a weekly basis that need the facility and services that EVE provides. They are a tremendous asset to the community," said Mincks.
One of EVE's new initiatives this year will be the "Engaging Men" program, in which they try to get more men in the community involved in EVE's efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault, said Edwards.
"This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and it is great because the money is unrestricted funding," said EVE Inc. board member Robin Bozian.
EVE's annual operating budget is $500,000. Much of this comes through grant funding which has to be matched by the organization.
Therefore, more community support means more grant funding is available.
"For every dollar we earn fundraising, we can usually match with three or four dollars in other grants," said Bozian.
Grants can also put certain restrictions on how the money can be spent.
The money from EVE's community fundraisers can be used for needs not covered by grants. For example, utilities like water, gas, and electric can not be paid for with grant funding, said EVE Inc. board member Molly Varner.
EVE employees hoped to raise around $25,000 at the auction to put toward grant matching and other causes, said Edwards. A total wasn't available Friday.
"We're lucky we have this overwhelming community support," said Edwards.
All of the items that were auctioned off were donated by local individuals and businesses.
Jewelry, a year's worth of desserts, a wooden porch swing, and a week's stay in Myrtle Beach were among the items available.
Keelan and Charlie McLeish of McLeish Auctions volunteer their time to the cause every year on the auction block.
"This is a great crowd and a great cause," said Keelan.
Cindy Davis, who has attended almost every year since the benefit began, brought her daughter Ricci for the first time this year.
"It's exciting to be here for something so important," said Ricci.
The event's organizers said they are surprised and grateful that the event has been so successful over the past 30 years, said Varner.
"If you had told us we would be doing this 30 years when we first started, I do not think we would have believed you," she said.