STEUBENVILLE - On Saturday, Steubenville's Linda Yanok gave as good as she got. Literally.
Yanok, vice president of sales at Barium Chemicals, finished off quite a bit of her holiday shopping at the "One Great Auction, Two Great Causes" event at the Fort Steuben Mall.
Some 194 items, including a 2003 Toyota Camry donated by the Yes TEAM Family of Dealerships, were sold at auction to raise money for the Jefferson County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the literacy program sponsored by the Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times.
BROWSING THE OFFERINGS — From left, Erin Weghorst of Weirton, Chris Courtnell of Hopedale and Bill England of Toronto inspect a row of gift baskets donated to Saturday’s “One Great Auction, Two Great Causes” fundraiser at the Fort Steuben Mall. Courtnell donated a “Merry Old England” themed basket filled with English beer, cider, candy and tea, as well as several innovative rolling carts produced by Certwood, Ltd.
While a final tally wasn't available Saturday, Red Cross Executive Director Kathy Musso said the car alone raised $6,400 for the two charitable projects.
"Our volunteers worked hard getting all these things," Musso said. "There were a lot of people there, I think the turnout was great. I think a lot of people went home with great gifts."
Yanok certainly did.
Among her purchases: An antique bread plate once owned by William McKinley, cross-stitched pieces depicting Ohio State scenes, Steelers merchandise, gift baskets filled with items for young boys, young girls and babies and a foos ball table.
Yanok said she'll be giving some of the items to family members for Christmas, and the youth-oriented gift baskets will go to childrens' charities. She and her sister, Barium Chemicals President Debbie Venci, though, will give the rest to their employees at the company's annual Christmas party.
Her favorite piece - a rolling cart produced by Certwood, Ltd., that she said would be perfect for craft items - went home with her.
"It's for such a good cause," laughed Yanok, who donated several handcrafted wreaths, swags and centerpieces to the cause. "It helps everybody - it helps the charity, it helps people in need."
There were Amish-made birdhouses, gun racks, stools, tables and office chairs. Lazy susans, mirror and candleholder sets, sports cards, sports dolls and sports apparel, music boxes, holiday decorations, tools, a Dave Barnhouse print, gift certificates, wine glasses and wine, a bicycle, gift baskets, dolls and candy bouquets, all of them snapped up by the auction-goers.
"I bid on lots of things, but I just got that so far," said Stephanie Rouse of Mingo Junction, pointing toward a quilt and sham she'd purchased. "The gift baskets are wrapped and ready to go, they're already made. That's a really good deal."
Musso, meanwhile, said the auction "is very important" to their disaster relief programs.
"We use (the proceeds) for general operating expenses," she said. "Along with our allocation from United Way, it helps us provide assistance to families. We had four major fires in November, and out of those we had over 17 families that we helped. It was our largest month ever."
Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times, said the auction also helps fund a literacy program that gets newspapers into classrooms throughout the Ohio Valley.