An unmentionable gathering

Minot residents are invited to come down to the Sleep Inn & Suites convention center tonight to attend the “Underwear Because We Care” benefit, a silent auction being held by Young Professionals of Minot with its proceeds going to the Domestic Violence Crisis Center. The center supports local women and children in need of shelter or services when they are at their most vulnerable.

“It’s our first year,” Kelsey Fagerland said of the auction, which she helped plan as co-chair of the YP’s outreach committee. For six years, the local network tries to get professionals aged 21 to 39 more engaged in Minot. “We wanted to do something with the Minot State ‘Power of 100,'” an ongoing community service challenge the university chose to mark its centennial. A number of local clubs, groups, and businesses have gotten together over the past year for a variety of projects.

Getting in touch with the DVCC, the network for young professionals asked what they could do to help out.

“One thing that they brought up was undergarments,” said Fagerland. In the hurry and tumult of a personal crisis, such a simple necessity often goes overlooked. At the event’s admissions table this evening, volunteers will be collecting any new undergarments attendees might like to contribute.

For the auction itself, YP members went out to area businesses looking for support, and were not disappointed. Up for auction will be a variety of baskets, hair care packages, vouchers for oil changes and assorted services, rodeo tickets, and a free night’s stay at the Sleep Inn & Suites Whirlpool suite.

For a $5 entrance fee, attendees to the auction can mingle over complimentary wine and appetizers as they bid. There will also be a cash bar available. People bringing new undergarments for the crisis center will be admitted at a discounted rate, for $2.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout,” said Fagerland. The auction will be held at the Northern Convention Center of Sleep Inn & Suites, on the south side of Dakota Square Mall. Bids will open at 6 p.m. and close at 7:30, with the evening wrapping up by 8.

Proceeds from the event will go to benefit Minot’s crisis center, which is currently looking for funds to complete construction of its “New Beginnings” campus. When completed, the four-phase building project will feature additional emergency housing and updated facilities.

“Our biggest need is financial,” said the center’s director, Dena Filler. “We’re still looking for funding.”

Serving the community since 1977, local need for the crisis center’s programs has risen dramatically in the past five years. “We’re seeing a huge increase in requests for services,” Filler explained, estimating a 63-percent increase in services across the board. Despite this jump, the center’s staff and resources have remained largely the same, and are finally being stretched to their limits.

Those interested in assisting or wanting to learn more are invited to give DVCC a call at 852-2258. For those in need of help themselves, the center’s 24-hour crisis hotline is 857-2200.

One-hundred and fifty strong and growing, additional information about Young Professionals of Minot is available at the group’s website, (www.ypminot.com).