11th Annual Power Of The Purse Event Benefits Local Childhood Literacy

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A silent auction and luncheon to raise money that will give books to children throughout the area is being held in Fort Smith on Wednesday (Oct. 19).

More than 45 purses will be auctioned off for United Way’s 11th annual Power of the Purse event.  This fundraiser draws in hundreds of people, and all of they money raised will go towards educating children throughout the River Valley.

The United Way of Fort Smith partners up with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This gives thousands of kids under the age of five from Sebastian, Crawford, Logan and Franklin books to read.

Organizers with the United Way said that when the program first started, they realized several kids in the area going to kindergarten were not even on the same learning level as other children.

President of United Way Fort Smith Eddie Lee Herndon said, “Any parent or grandparent can sign their child up and they will receive an age appropriate book every single month in the mail.”

Ladies who attend will enjoy lunch, a silent auction where they can bid on a large variety of designer purses. Many will have themes such as tailgating, night on the town, or even spa day. The ladies will then listen to guest speaker, Jillian Diauto. She’s a Golden Gloves boxing competitor with a large following on Facebook and Instagram. Diauto’s goal is to encourage others to eat healthy and exercise.

“I’m so excited to connect with so many,” Diauto told 5NEWS in an exclusive interview. “The whole journey has been about reaching out and connecting with others and this is a great opportunity for that,” Diauto added.

Diauto is from Boston and will be going pro soon. Her life has been full of challenges between health and family. However, she encourages her friends and followers with her “Living Inspired with Jillian” Facebook page.

The event kicks off at 11:30 a.m. at the Movie Lounge Epic Event Center. Tickets are available for $40 each. You can either call the United Way Office in Fort Smith, or purchase tickets at the door.