From the left: Lisa Williams of MSCC and HOL executive director Cathy Ashby are seen prior to the beginning of the event. Thompson Goddard Photo

WINCHESTER – There was a great turn-out for the 2023 Purses with a Purpose event, held during the evening of October 21 at the Joel Steele Community Centre. A fundraiser for the House of Lazarus (HOL), it was organized in collaboration with Main Street Clothing Company (MSCC) of Winchester. HOL executive director Cathy Ashby told The Record that there were approximately 160 tickets sold for the event, which had as its theme A Night in Vegas. The event raised $15,000.

“I was honoured to be asked by them,” said MSCC owner Lisa Williams, who mentioned how as HOL does so much for the community each day, she was very happy to facilitate this fundraising event which included a fashion show featuring product from her store.

The evening featured a silent auction, a live auction of gently used purses as well as several live auctions of designer purses, with auctioneer Flora Dumouchel donating her service. Ashby explained each designer purse was paired with one of the services offered to the public by HOL.  As the evening progressed, a speaker would provide a presentation on the service, which was sponsored by the businesses with the appropriate purse then auctioned.

These included: Healing Pathway (Bakertilly); Operation Backpack (Foodland); Community Hub & Warming Centre (Co-operators); Drop-In Program (Lise Buma of Coldwell Banker Coburn Realty); Outreach Program (Beyond the House); Places for People (Ault & Ault Law Office); Last Resort Funding (Hannah Ross Flamingo Social); People who are experiencing homelessness (Byers Funeral Homes Inc.); Dinner on the house (Watters Financial Group Inc.) and Alltec Refresh Program (Winchester Travel).

The presentation on the Alltec Refresh Program was provided by Austin Miller and is carried out because of a collaboration between Alltec Solutions and HOL. Miller explained the program is based on the concept of making technology accessible for HOL clients and people in the community who need access to technology. After receiving donated items such as computers, laptops, and cell phones, they are refurbished before being provided to those who require them.

Miller volunteers his time and work for this project which he feels is important for several reasons including ensuring accessibility to technology to those in need of it and reducing the amount of e-waste. Miller explained a 10-year-old or younger computer or cell phone that is no longer used by the owner can be donated to HOL for use in this program. Ashby thanked all those who had made donations to the successful event, to Lisa Williams of MSCC and a special note of thanks to the HOL volunteer team for their work that included decorating the hall and preparing the refreshments for the evening.

More information on HOL can be found on their website located at or their Facebook page.