South Whidbey soroptimists offer not just your run-of-the-mill purses at fundraiser

Soroptimists Lisa Grosso holds a travel bag, Marlane Harrington sports a whimsical evening bag which holds surprise gifts and Julie Joselyn offers interior design wisdom in her bag.   - Marian Myszkowski photo
Soroptimists Lisa Grosso holds a travel bag, Marlane Harrington sports a whimsical evening bag which holds surprise gifts and Julie Joselyn offers interior design wisdom in her bag.
— image credit: Marian Myszkowski photo

Just bag it.

No, that doesn’t mean throw in the towel. That means find the perfect bag for any occasion at the annual “Purses with a Purpose” fundraiser for Soroptimist International of South Whidbey.

For the second year, the service organization will hold the live and silent auction event which features more than 50 purses, bags, pocketbooks, clutches and book-bags, both formal and casual, for just about anybody who needs to carry something. That includes women, men, teens and kids.

Purses with a Purpose is at

6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28 at Greenbank Farm.

The auctions feature handbags in every imaginable style, color and size, some of which are filled with a “mystery” selection of specialty items, gift certificates and other surprises. There will be opportunities for everyone to bid and win, with minimum bids as low as $10.

Soroptimist president Marlane Harrington said the event was a big success last year, and that the “mystery purses” were a special thrill.

“Somebody went home with a diamond bracelet or necklace last year, which was exciting,” Harrington said.

“We tried to appeal to everybody, so there will be all different types of containers, including a Home Depot bucket lined with tools for the men,” Harrington said.

That would also be great for women who need a toolkit, she added, not wanting to leave out the women who are just as handy as the guys.

“We also created a wide variety of price points on the purses, so everyone can find something at the auction,” she added.

Purse bidders will not go hungry ,as a delicious variety of appetizers will be served, including smoked salmon and onion cheesecake, chicken tikka, marinated spareribs aloha, fig and olive tapenade on a baguette, clam puffs and brie en croute. Local vintners will pour wines for tasting, and wine will also be available for purchase by the glass. Wines offered are from Bloom Winery, Spoiled Dog Winery and Comforts on Whidbey.

The Soroptimist International of South Whidbey (SISW) group is in its 26th year of service. The group of active South Whidbey women take the objective of the organization seriously.

All over the world the organization of professional women works to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities.

Currently, Harrington said the SISW is working on acquiring nonprofit status for one of its programs, the Island Girls Live Their Dreams Day Camp, which is held each summer and which has consistently served from 80 to 100 girls on the South End. The group hopes eventually to expand the free camp for middle school girls to Central and North Whidbey.

The organization recently initiated its “Start Me Up” program, which includes acquiring nonprofit status and opening the Island Girls Treasure Chest thrift store in Freeland.

The store is set to open Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 1664 Main St. and hopes to provide a funding source for the camp.

Beyond the camp, the SISW continues its strong presence in other areas where women are served.

Grant beneficiaries of the South Whidbey group in 2010 included Helping Hand of South Whidbey, Whidbey Island Share A Home, Toddler Learning Center, Harbor Haven, Back to School Project, The Zoe Foundation and the South Whidbey School Discretionary Fund.

Other ongoing projects of the South Whidbey club include “Heart of a Woman” (providing free heart health screening), and a host of short-term service projects with such groups as Habitat for Humanity, Good Cheer and Whidbey Island Nourishes.

“We’ve continued to be a real vibrant organization that makes a significant contribution to South Whidbey,” Harrington said.

“We invite everyone to come to Purses with a Purpose and enjoy a fun evening with friends,” she said.

Tickets are $25 and include a wine tasting and hors d’oeuvre. The event is in Barn A at Greenbank Farm.

For information on tickets, click here, call 331-4127 or e-mail

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