In 2015, Karyn Jo Dobyns from the Fond du Lac Office spearheaded a Group Giving Event to benefit Necessities Bag Wisconsin. It was personal; KJ, as she prefers to be called, is a breast cancer survivor and could relate to the specific needs that face post-surgery mastectomy patients.
The fundraiser, which started as "Bags for Bags" began as a sale of gently used purses, and has grown to include scarves.
This year's fundraiser will be held Friday through Sunday, Oct. 14-16, at First Weber's Fond du Lac office, 845 S Main Street. Hours are 4-8 pm Friday, 9 am to 3 pm Saturday and - new to this year's event - "Half Price Sunday" from 9 am to noon.
Purses are generally marked between $1 and $8 and scarves at $1, but designer purses and scarves are marked separately. And, KJ adds, there will be fresh inventory added to Saturday's sale.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In October 2015, KJ learned she had cancer and was given a Necessities Bag to help her through her surgery. The bags are filled with "comfort items," such as oversized t-shirts, bandages, drain straps, a note pad, moistened cloths, lip balm, tissues and more. There are 2 hand-made cushioning pillows to protect tender bodies from seat belts, as well as a thank you card, and a booklet composed by women who have been through the surgery, giving helpful hints about what to expect before, during & after surgery.
That first year, KJ and her First Weber team began collecting gently used purses from local lender offices and title companies, as well as state-wide from First Weber agents and staff.
The event has grown over the years, and there is much to be done. The donated purses and scarves are sorted, cleaned and priced. The collection takes over the Fond du Lac office.
Since 2015, the First Weber Foundation has paid out more than $51,000 to Necessities Bag Wisconsin through the Foundation's Group Giving and Matching Gifts programs.
KJ says that leftover inventory is shared with non-profits like Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Beacon House, Gratitude Club, Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, Solutions Center and Broken Bread in hopes they can be passed on and used as those organizations see fit.
The slideshow above displays the contents of a Necessities Bag.