Making the best of "stay at home"

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Cathryn Miller is a regional DJ who works weddings, parties, graduations, etc. But since the pandemic, Miller has been out of work.

Originally from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Miller became a United States citizen in 2018. Her husband is a retired Marine who now works for Lockheed Martin on the Marine Corps air Station.

Deeply concerned about those losing jobs, she tried to come up with a way to help others who are out of work.

“I just could not sit by and do nothing and watch these people lose everything. I have been in the food, beverage, and entertainment industry for most of my life, and I understand how hard it is for these people right now; I wanted to help them,” Miller said. “I also wanted a way to get everybody involved and to show them that the community cares about the situation they are in right now,” she added.

Miller owns a DJ company, and obviously because of the pandemic, she found herself out of work for the next couple of months.

“My husband is still working and has a good job, so we are one of the lucky ones. I had been racking my brain for three or four days to come up with an idea to help the very people in my industry who are getting hit the hardest right now. So, I came up with this idea on Sunday morning March 22, and with the support of a lot of businesses and friends, I created a Facebook group for raising money through auctions to aid restaurant servers, bar tenders and others in the entertainment field. Considering I’m unemployed for the next couple of months thanks to the shut down, I most definitely have the time to do this,” quipped Miller.

After her initial opening of the Facebook page, the group grew from 30 people to nearly 1,100 in three days.

The components of her plan are really simple, and go like this:

Anyone can join Lowcountry Auctions on Facebook. The idea of this group is to list items for auction. By cleaning out a closet, garage or house, unwanted new or gently used items can be donated for a great cause. Businesses can offer a gift certificates or other items to help.

Each item will have the name of the individual worker/entertainer at the top. People are invited to bid on the items. Each auction lasts 3-7 days, and at the end of the auction, the winning bidder will send the amount directly to the worker/entertainer via PayPal/Venmo or cash app. It is up to the person donating the item and the winning bidder to arrange pickup of the auction item that was won.

Miller has people who have donated and been nominated from Bluffton, Beaufort, Saint Helena, Walterboro and St. George. “I have dj’d at Paradise in Walterboro and Barrelhouse Grill for many years, and that area is very close to my heart,” said Miller. “So I wanted to include those towns, too.”

“One business in Beaufort, Paninis, on the waterfront, helped me start this group by donating hundreds and hundreds of dollars’ worth of gift certificates to the restaurant. A lot of their gift certificates are being used to help people in the Walterboro area as well as Beaufort. The owner of that venue is just amazing,” remarked Miller.

Bids are changing every day, and the winning bid amount will go directly to the server that was nominated via cash app or Venmo or PayPal. “I absolutely did not want any third-party receiving funds, so I am having the winning bidders send the payment directly to the person in need. Some bids have reached $300 already and this will continue to grow every day. When each auction gets down to the last two or three days, I really push it to get the total up a lot higher for the person nominated,” said Miller.

If you want to donate an item/s, message Cathryn Miller at Lowcountry Auctions with details of the item, pictures, and approximate location of pickup.

If you would like to nominate someone who is out of work due to Covid-19, message Miller with their story, and they will be added to the auction’s winning recipients. Lowcountry Auctions need as many donors and bidders as possible, she said. All winning monies will go directly to the person nominated/affected and not to any third party.

She said there are so many amazing people out there who are having it so tough right now with the shutdown. “Even if you don’t personally know those listed, please bid, as we are all part of the same family,” said Miller.

Lots of people are messaging her and nominating a server without donating anything, but the donations really help. When a name is given to Miller for assistance, she asks for the server’s story, asks about their family, and once she verifies the information, she starts an auction for them using donated items.

“I would like to say the biggest thank you in the world to every person and every business who has helped. Even though they are hurting like crazy from the shutdown, they are jumping in to donate items and gift certificates to help workers. The amount of support from all over the Lowcountry from businesses who are either closed or have lost 90% of their business at this point has just been phenomenal.

“I also want to thank the owner of Paradise in Walterboro, Rachel Kay, for help in administrating the Facebook page, as it has grown so much. She has been an incredible help, and without her right now, I would probably be pulling my hair out,” laughed Miller.

“I know those out of work would appreciate everyone’s generosity greatly. I intend to keep this auction page going until every last worker is back at work.”

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