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Purses with Purpose takes a nice purse for charity

The event benefited the Iowa Speedway Foundation and the Newton YMCA

Purses with Purpose had a nice sized crowd for the nights festivities which included a silent auction, a live auction and a dualing piano show.
Purses with Purpose had a nice sized crowd for the nights festivities which included a silent auction, a live auction and a dualing piano show.

As usual, the citizens of Newton opened both their hearts and their wallets for a charitable cause, this time it was for the 2nd annual Purses with Purpose put on the by the Iowa Speedway Foundation. This year’s beneficiary was the Newton YMCA.

Jessica Lowe, marketing and membership director of the YMCA, is thankful that her organization got to team up with the Speedway Foundation this year.

“We were very fortunate that Debb (Debra Smith, Director of the Iowa Speedway Foundation) and the Iowa Speedway Foundation asked the YMCA to be a part of it this year,” said Lowe. “Last year they helped another non-profit and they chose the Y this year. 50 percent goes to the speedway foundation and 50 percent goes to the Y. We are very excited about it.”

The crowd also seemed to be excited. Last year’s event pre-sold 80 tickets; this year’s event pre-sold over 100 tickets and even more at the door. There were even the dueling piano stylings of Andy Anderson and Mike Leeds, who battled not only with their instruments but with vocals as well.

The auction had over 66 items, all of which were donated to the event by local companies, citizens and, organizations. There was also a raffle and the grand prize was a Kate Spade purse valued at over $250.

A silent auction from 6 to 8 p.m. kicked off the evening at the Newton Club at Iowa Speedway. At 8:15 p.m., the live auction began, and the dueling pianists capped off the evening until 9 p.m. The event also featured a variety of appetizers and a bar.

Melissa Handy attended the event and was heavily eyeing some of the items presented on the tables.

“To help raise money,” was Handy’s reply as to why she came to the event. “And I love bags. Who doesn’t love a purse?”

While the name “Purses with Purpose” may be misleading, the event had plenty of items for both sexes. Outdoors Without Boundaries donated hunting supplies, Mark Allen of Edward Jones, donated a Callaway “Daytripper Sandbag” and an assortment of Edward Jones related goodies, and Bass Pro Shops donated what they called “Bass Pro Shops Ultimate Murse.” The “murse” contained Bass Pro Shops coozies and bottle suits, several kinds of beef jerky, hot sauces and several large tins of assorted nuts.

Smith couldn’t have been more pleased with how this year’s event turned out.

“We doubled the amount of tickets we sold last year,” said Smith. “The Y donated a lot of their ad space with the newspaper, we have been on a lot of the local radio stations, and I was on Channel 13 last Saturday. Also the Y put it on their board and a lot of people saw that.”

The collaboration between the two non-profits seemed to be a match made in heaven. Smith elaborated more on why they chose to work with the Y this year.

“We were really looking for somebody that we could touch a lot of people with,” said Smith. “And the Y has a good base of people that they work with everyday and things like that. And they needed the financial help too. We want to help the most people that we can. An organization that has a lot of people that they can help, that is who we are interested in helping.”

The benefit also played host to another charity. Beza Threads was there and they were selling scarves to help girls in Ethiopia escape child sex slavery and boys escape slavery. The speedway foundation gave them a booth for free to give aid to their cause.

In total the benefit was a success, and raised close to $8,400. Last years festival raised $5,000. Smith couldn’t be happier,

“I think it was a great success,” she said. “We had more than double the attendance of last year. The Y was great to work with and we are looking forward to next years.”

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at

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