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Safe Nights: Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center auction to replace annual sock hop

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Feb 19, 2021

Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center Victim Advocate Jenna People places a sticker on a board, signifying enough money had been raised at the event for an additional safe night for a person in need of housing, during the Fifth Annual Sock Hop Benefit Dance and Charity Auction at Town Run Tap House and Community Pub last year. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — For the first time in six years, the Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center’s annual Sock Hop to Save Lives will not be taking place. Due to social distancing concerns related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the annual fundraiser has been replaced this year with a virtual charity auction — similar to the silent auction held in-person, as part of the annual fundraiser dance.

EPEC Board Secretary and Fundraising Committee Chair Linda Ackerman said she was contacted by a Charity Auction website representative last year, and realized through the conversation that holding a virtual auction on the website would be a good substitution for the sock hop.

“It was mid-to-late last year when it became obvious that it would be irresponsible of EPEC [to not change the fundraiser] — a COVID risk,” Ackerman said. “EPEC, like so many other organizations, would definitely rather have an in-person event, but under the current COVID situation it is not possible. With help from the community, we hope that we will have good participation [with this new fundraiser].”

All of the money raised from the auction, which runs from Thursday at 6 a.m. through Feb. 28 at 10 a.m., will be used to pay for a couple of safe nights in a hotel for women escaping domestic violence or human trafficking situations. According to EPEC Director Katie Spriggs, the annual fundraiser is EPEC’s only one focusing specifically on raising money for safe night housing. It is especially essential to raise money for these safe nights, as there is usually a waitlist of people for the shelter’s 15 beds.

“We are obviously unable to hold the sock hop this year, but didn’t want to miss the opportunity to raise much-needed funds for our cause!” Spriggs said of the online auction.

Rose Lorenzetti, of Harpers Ferry, right, talks with Cecilia Engelberg, of Charles Town, about the silent auction items at the Fifth Annual Sock Hop Benefit Dance and Charity Auction in Town Run Tap House and Community Pub last February. Tabitha Johnston

So far, the auction has received a number of donations, including a sizable one from its auction host, according to Ackerman.

“Charity Auctions donates 100 items to the auctions. We have additional items that have been and continue to be donated by people from the area and out-of-state,” Ackerman said.

Community members can contribute donations to the auction through Tuesday, by visiting https://yourcharityauction.com/auction.php?a=780&ca=fb9f56 or emailing lindacke64@yahoo.com with a description of the item, its value, a photo(s) and the quantity being donated, if more than one item is being donated. So far, items up for auction include day trips, sports memorabilia, electronics, family vacations, golf gadgets, quilts, wine glass charms, a woven rug, chair pillows and placements.

“Your generosity and assistance is what keeps Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center thriving. We hope that you will participate in the auction,” Spriggs said. “Thank you for your continued support!”

To learn more about EPEC, visit https://epecwv.org/. To view the auction, visit yourcharityauction.com/EPEC.

Dancers try out some new steps, during the Fifth Annual sock hop at Town Run Tap House and Community Pub last year. Tabitha Johnston