Guest Post from Hollie, interim HT auction coordinator

July 27th, 2012


Hello everyone:

Amy Rainey and Susanna have shared information with you in the past about the Hidden Treasures online auctions.  Since October 2011, these every-other-month auctions have helped nine (and counting) families bring some amazing Pleven kiddos to their true homes.

Have you bid in or donated to the Hidden Treasures auctions before?

We thank you so very much for your support!  See you next Wednesday, August 1st, for our next auction. Or show up early for a “sneak peak” this Saturday morning!


If you have never participated in a Hidden Treasures auction before…

Perhaps you’re wondering how you can help this mission?
Bidding in or donating to these auctions is a WONDERFUL way to help this mission whether you are qualified to adopt, waiting to become qualified, or looking for a way to DO something about this heartbreaking tragedy.

In addition to bidders and donors, we need SHARERS! If you have a Facebook account or use other social media, please post the link to the auction on your page or in a status update.  Include a picture of a favorite item you’ve won or donated or are hoping to win. If you blog, please share the link and a little info about our mission (feel free to cut and paste from here or link back up to this page).

The more we broaden our base of donors and bidders, the more help we can provide to Pleven families.

Perhaps something has kept you from bidding in or donating to these auctions?
If you haven’t visited, bid, or donated items to our auctions in the past, I’ve put together a few FAQs to help you get started. But, if I haven’t answered your question, please email us at, and we’d be happy to help.

You might be asking questions like these…

What kind of stuff is offered?
Generous folks from around the country donate new and gently used items of all shapes and sizes and kinds for bidding. Generally, the auctions contain these types of items:

  • handmade items (scarves, hats, hot pads, jewelry, greeting cards, children’s hair accessories and outfits, baby blankets, and SO much more),
  • collectibles (figurines or vintage items),
  • gift cards (GAP, Starbucks, Bed Bath and Beyond, Cheesecake Factory, Best Buy, and MANY more),
  • gift certificates to purchase handcrafted items from stores on Etsy (for example, sleeping bags and clothes for American Girl-type dolls or handmade Waldorf-style and other dolls), and
  • COOL items for gift giving (beautiful nature photographs enhanced with your choice of scripture, a child’s pen pal kit, a lunch-packing kit, a preschooler busy bag, to name a few).
  • And, sometimes we even have housewares, original artwork or photography, scrapbooking materials, and items or crafts or drawings made by children (those are my personal favorites).

Just what exactly is an online auction?
Think of it like a garage sale on the internet! Folks email us their name and contact information. Once they have done that, they can bid on items by leaving a comment with their name (or initials) and the amount they are willing to pay for the item. Until the auction closes, folks who have emailed us their contact information may bid as many times as they like. When the auction closes, the highest bidder wins. We contact that winner, and once s/he makes payment, the donor ships the winner the item. Easy peasy!

I’m still not getting it. How on earth does it work?
A donor emails us about an item s/he would like to contribute. We ask for a picture of it and a little detail (things like, How big is it? What is it made out of? What would it retail for?). We post the item with description and picture. Meanwhile, bidders bid while the donor packages up that item for shipping. At the close of the auction, the person who left a comment with the highest dollar amount is our winner! We email the winner and remind them to make payment (electronically via a Chip-In button). Once payment is made, we email the donor to let her know that payment is complete. Donor ships directly to winning bidder. Easy as pie!

I want to bid, but I can’t figure that site out! Help!
Ask a child (or grandchild) to show you how to work through the site. This also allows you the wonderful opportunity to chat with that child about Pleven, helping folks in need, and the TRUE reality about Down syndrome.  How I have cherished these chats with our 9 and 7 and 5 year olds.

You may also email us at We’d be happy to virtually walk you through it or schedule a phone chat to answer questions while you scroll through the site.

Well, I looked, but there wasn’t anything I wanted.
Instead of shopping for yourself or your own family, you could use the auctions to “shop” for birthday, new baby, Christmas, or thank you gifts for family and friends. Some folks also purchase items and then donate them back to the next auction. Yet another way to help!

Also, can we encourage you to donate items that you yourself would want to win? If your favorite types of items aren’t available, chances are other bidders are missing them as well.

I want to donate items! What do I do?
Thank you! How we appreciate your support! Here are a few suggestions.

  • Next time you find a great bargain on a gift or housewares, buy two and donate the “spare” to the next auction.
  • Received a gift that you don’t like or can’t use? Donate it to us!
  • Are you crafty? Do you like to take photos? Cross stitch? Knit? Make cards? String beads? If you can make it, we will take it!
  • Purchase a gift card to a national retailer (like Starbucks or Panera or Home Depot or Barnes and Noble) and donate it to us.
  • If you frequent a local brick-and-mortor shop or online shop, ask the proprietor for an in-kind donation or a gift certificate. Our auctions can be a great way for shop proprietors to get advertising.
  • Think outside the box! When you prep a craft for your own child or a scout troop or a church youth group, consider prepping extras and donating a “craft kit” to us. Have extra gift wrapping supplies that you can’t use? Make up a little kit with those items, some tape, and new scissors, and donate the kit to us. When you’re making teacher gifts, make a few extra and donate them to us. When you’re putting together treat bags for a child’s birthday party, make a dozen extra and donate them to us.
  • Find a good Buy-one-get-one-free sale? Donate the “get one” to us!
  • Cleaning out pristine-condition toys or books or housewares? Donate them to us!

**Please remember that you as the donor will be responsible to pay for shipping the item to the eventual winner wherever s/he may live. Please take shipping and packaging costs into account when you decide what items you’d like to contribute.

However you support this mission (with prayer, by donating, by bidding, by sharing auction details with friends and family), please know that we sincerely appreciate your support. The families of these amazing children so very much appreciate your help.

Thanks, and happy bidding/donating/sharing!  See you next Wednesday, August 1st, at

Hollie Paine-Dodge (standing in for Amy Rainey for the August Hidden Treasures” auction)

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2 Responses to “Guest Post from Hollie, interim HT auction coordinator”

  1. Joleigh says:

    Hey, I tried to email Hollie at the new email address on this post and it still bounced back.  Am I doing something wrong?  I’d like to donate a few things!

  2. Susanna says:

    Thank you for donating to the auction, Joleigh!  I’m excited to see the items!

    I just tried it again and it works for me.  “treasures” is in the plural and “auction” is in the singular.

    Can you let me know if you’re still having trouble?  If all else fails, you can email the info to me and I’ll forward it to Hollie.  :)


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