It's the most generous time of the year! And now you can give (or get) a truly one-of-a-kind gift thanks to the annual Mercury Online Charity Auction! PLUS! All the proceeds go to help survivors of domestic violence—right here in Portland!


• Check out the following pages and pick the gifts you like best.

• Now head over to the Mercury Online Charity Auction

• Find your preferred gift, and click the link below it. This will take you to the item's home on eBay.

Bid on your present, and check in regularly to make sure you still have the highest bid. Please be generous!

• Bidding starts NOW and ends on Saturday, December 11, at noon.

The winners will be notified immediately, and you can pick up your prize in plenty of time for Christmas! And ALL of the proceeds from this year's auction will go directly to the Raphael House, an amazing and hard-working nonprofit that assists survivors of domestic violence and their families (see below for much more info)!

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Bid now, and bid big for the gift of a lifetime! And as always...


All Proceeds from the Mercury Online Charity Auction Will Go to Raphael House... and Here's Why!

Domestic violence isn't something that only happens in other places, to other people. A 2004 survey by the state revealed that a third of Oregon women have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in their lifetime. People who work with domestic violence locally describe intimate partner violence as an epidemic that has sunk its teeth into Portland, Oregon, and the nation. And local advocates say domestic violence seems to be increasing, at the same time that the recession is choking budgets for groups that help women, men, and children get out of violent homes and back on their feet.

That's why this year, every penny raised in the Mercury online charity auction will go to the state's largest domestic violence shelter, the Portland-based women's shelter Raphael House (; crisis line: 503-222-6222).

When people think about domestic violence, they think about the escape: a woman on the run, packing her kids into a car. But the real consequences of domestic violence stick around for the long haul, and Raphael House aims to help families restart their lives free of violence. Since 1977, Raphael House has staffed an emergency shelter—a quiet space filled with kids' art and daily activities—that houses 100 families every year. Then Raphael House's transitional housing program provides long-term assistance to 14 families at a time. The center also offers activities for kids, emotional support and counseling for families, and outreaches to middle and high schoolers to recognize the signs of domestic violence as well as their own rights within relationships.

During a rainy vigil this October commemorating the 49 Oregonians who have lost their lives due to domestic violence this year, Tracy Alioth told the tearful crowd her own story of surviving domestic violence and eventually becoming a trained volunteer at Raphael House. The need for shelter beds, counseling, and safe housing far outpaces available resources in Portland. "I often come across waiting lists a year long," said Alioth.

Multnomah County estimates that 28,000 women in the county are abused each year. The Portland Women's Crisis Line has to tell 60 percent of people who call looking for help leaving their abusers that there is no shelter space available. While women call back again and again in the hopes that a bed will open up, they're told to wait out the long hours somewhere in public—at a coffee shop, the airport, or even to ride the MAX all night.

Domestic violence is an epidemic, but it is not incurable. At the very least, every person who seeks to leave their abuser should be able to find a safe bed and a helping hand. Safe, positive places like Raphael House help break the cycle of partner violence and keep kids from growing up as victims and witnesses of violence. The money you spend on these auction items (almost all of them donated by generous local businesses) will make an immediate and powerful difference in the life of one of your neighbors who is in desperate need. Spend a lot, help a lot, and give a lot of thanks for the family and friends who are there to support you in your life.