Handbags get a second life at Plumbago Purse Party

VERO BEACH — All women have purses they no longer use and everyone loves a bargain; combine the two and you have the concept behind a great fundraiser.   Approximately 150 ladies showed up at the main RBC Bank Thursday evening to socialize and pick up some terrific handbags for pennies on the dollar, at a Purse Party to benefit Plumbago Volunteer Services, Indian River County’s only Volunteer Center. Volunteers are the lifeblood of non-profit organizations, providing them with the manpower and financial resources necessary to support their causes.  But finding the perfect match isn’t always easy.  Enter Plumbago, which connects individuals with various client agencies.

“This is our third Purse Party,” said Darlene Forage, Plumbago Executive Director, who was pleased with the turnout.  “Every year it’s grown.”

From tiny to tremendous, simple to spectacular, the handbags were available in every shape, size and color.  There were even a number of high-end designer handbags being raffled off, that had been donated by local stores.

The ladies mingled about, sipping wine and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres, while enjoying the jazzy sounds of the Coffee Beans, all the while searching out the very best bargains.

Having already purchased a number of handbags, Rebecca Young and her mother were making a quick trip out to their car before returning back for more.

“I think they should do shoes next time; really good shoes,” laughed Young.

“Our new board member Doug Clement collected at least 150 bags through his connections and friends,” said Forage.

“I called everybody I know, including my sister from North Carolina and friends from all over Florida,” said Clement.  “They got room and board if they brought purses.”

The purses and handbags that were not purchased by the end of the evening were going to be put to good use, as a donation to SafeSpace.

Clement explained that the organization is seeking greater name recognition for Plumbago as a resource.  In addition to Clement, the formerly all-woman board has now also been joined by Lee Olsen, General Manager at Waldo’s Restaurant, recruited when the group met one evening at the restaurant.

“Members of the John’s Island Foundation came to a meeting at the United Way recently so that we could introduce them to what we do,” said Clement.   “Our customers are other charities; several told the Foundation that they couldn’t function without Plumbago. Eventually we hope to no longer have to explain what we do.”

Forage said their next focus is on offering training classes, such as grant writing workshops and volunteer management certification classes to non-profit staff, and basic guidelines for the volunteers.

“I want to do a volunteer 101 class to make them more valuable to the non-profits,” explained Forage.  “For example, the logistics of setting up and manning a table at a community event, learning how to make eye contact and attract people to the booth, public speaking, PowerPoint presentations; all the skills non-profits are seeking with their volunteers.”  {igallery 344}

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