Supporters Can Bid Online October 20-29
The Hand UP for Change Auction is back for its third year to raise designated funds for Hand UP for Women’s operating budget. This year the goal is to raise $25,000, a five thousand dollar increase from 2022. Loyal supporters believe in Hand UP’s mission to serve women who have experienced hopelessness in and around Knox County. Thanks to their servitude, the Hand UP for Change Auction is possible.
Finding Her Forte
Consider Betty-Lou Simpson. She began giving back to Hand UP for Women close to a decade ago. Her daughter was teaching a Bible study series to participants and she tagged along.
“After one class I was hooked,” Betty-Lou said.
She started helping with the meals ahead of classes and listening to the different participants’ stories. Women served by the program come from backgrounds of addiction, abuse, lack of education, and generational poverty. They are at the end of their rope and want to improve their lives once and for all.
“When you start dealing with making them healthy and helping them function day to day big changes are going to be made.”
Creating a New Fundraiser
In time, Betty-Lou’s involvement grew. She got the idea for the Hand UP for Change auction from the McNabb Foundation, Beth Haynes 12 Days of Christmas.
“I thought “we can do this,” Betty-Lou said, “So I started researching auction platforms online, finding one that is formatted for 5013c organizations with low fees and easy-to-use formatting.”
Volunteers offer the items through pictures and write descriptives and then Betty-Lou wraps them.
“One year a lady said, “‘If I knew these were going to look like that, I would have bought Christmas presents.’ The next year she bought seven items and hid them when she got home,” Betty-Lou recalls with a chuckle. She believes it’s the uniqueness of these items that add a special touch. They want the items to be something people remember.
Plus, wrapping the items is something Betty-Lou adores. “I love it! It’s a lot of work on the front end then the bidding starts and you get to watch some people find a favorite item,” she said.
Raising Awareness Throughout East Tennessee
Another volunteer, Angela Faulkner, assists with soliciting donations. She procured items from organizations, businesses and individuals including cabin rentals, art, restaurant gift cards, sports memorabilia, jewelry, purses and more. There are more than 90 items for bidders to consider.
“It makes me feel like it’s brought more awareness in the community to business owners and other people about what we do,” Angela said.
When asked why people should donate, Angela said, “Because it’s changing lives and breaking generational cycles of poverty.”
With the help of strong bidders, both volunteers know the auction will continue to create a lasting impact on Hand UP of Women. “The community is coming along beside us and wanting us to succeed.”
The Need for Expansion
“We were blessed with this huge property and with that blessing comes larger budgetary needs,” Betty-Lou said, “This property came out of the blue, so we are reworking day-to-day expenses and developing a more realistic budget.”
The board’s finance team recognized the need for the largest operating budget Hand UP has had since its inception 20 years ago. “With the larger facility on Buffat Mill Road and a large operating budget, the opportunity to serve many more women is possible. And that’s so exciting,” Betty-Lou explained.
This is one of Hand UP for Women’s primary fundraising events of the year, followed by the Spring Gala.
Last year, the online auction raised more than $20,000. Supporters can also donate directly or mail a donation via check to:
Hand UP for Women
Attn: Operating Budget Fund
PO Box 3216
Knoxville, TN 37927