Let them eat cake

D/SAOC’s annual cake auction is April 14

-Messenger file photo by Hans Madsen
Deb Davis, of Humboldt, stops to bid on a cake that included a selection of lottery tickets during the 22nd annual Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center Cake Auction in 2017. This year’s cake auction is April 14. Admission to the event at the Iowa Central Community College East Campus is free.

Once a year, there’s one place where people can support a local organization that helps victims of domestic and sexual violence.

They do it by bidding on auction items paired with cakes.

This year is the 23rd annual Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center’s cake auction, which will be held April 14 at the Iowa Central Community College East Campus.

Admission to the event is free.

This year, the silent auction starts at 5 p.m.. The live auction starts at 6 p.m.

-Messenger file photo by Hans Madsen
ABOVE: Doug Phillips, of Fort Dodge, stops to read the red silhouette for Holly Michael during the 2017 Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center Cake Auction.

Leah Bair, program development director for D/SAOC, said the cake auction is the shelter’s biggest fundraiser.

Through last year’s auction, about $56,000 was raised for D/SAOC.

“The money goes into our funds so that we can continue providing free and confidential services to the 20 counties that we serve,” Bair said.

She said the cake auction is usually very well-attended.

“Last year was about 600 in attendance,” she said. “And we’re hoping for the same this year.”

The community is a key support of both D/SAOC and the cake auction, she said.

“We’re so glad that the community is so well-supportive of our organization.”

The cake auction is critically important for D/SAOC, she said.

“We do get grant funds to stay operational, but it doesn’t cover all of the funds that we need,” she said. “The cake auction and several of our other smaller fundraisers is what we need to continue to provide the free services that we do provide.”

What sets the cake auction apart from other silent and live auctions is, well, the cake.

Bair said there’s a misconception that bidders are solely buying a cake.

“That’s what people sometimes don’t understand about the cake auction,” she said. “They think, cake auction, they’re going for a cake. Well, every cake is paired with a prize item as well.”

Ahead of the live and silent auction rows of long tables are weighted down by the offerings, which can include anything from vacation packages and trips to waterparks to framed photographs and certificates for tattoos.

“It goes anywhere from coffee baskets to quilts to trips,” Bair said. “Kids’ baskets, toys, concert tickets. It kind of goes all over the place this year.”

In addition, there is also a raffle for $500 cash.

Tickets for the raffle are being sold now.

“You can buy one for $5 or five for $20,” Bair said. “We draw that at the end of the evening. You do not have to be present to win.” If the winner is not present, D/SAOC staff will contact them to let them know they’ve won.

Additionally, Bair said if there’s interest in having raffle tickets sold at one’s place of business, staff members can drop off tickets there. She said people should contact her if they’re interested in baking a cake for the auction or providing an auction prize. All people need to do is call her at 955-2273.

Here’s what a crisis-based shelter service offers

Crisis intervention

Safety planning

Case management

Information, education & referrals

Counseling/support groups

Court advocacy

Medical advocacy


Provision of basic needs

Food and clothing

Personal hygiene supplies


Child advocacy

Housing location support

Here are the 20 counties served by D/SAOC



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