BRATTLEBORO -- The United Way of Windham County invites the public to Handbags for HOPE, to be held on Thursday, April 24, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden. In honor of women's role in philanthropy in Windham County and to celebrate April as the Month of the Young Child, Handbags for HOPE will benefit the United Way's Fund for Quality Early Education.

This fun, women-only event will feature a silent and live auction with Jean Gilbert as auctioneer. More than 60 bags are up for auction, including designer bags by Kate Spade, Coach and Betsey Johnson, artisan-made bags, totes, purses, evening bags, backpacks, briefcases, and more. Bags have been donated by local stores, designers, artists, and others and can be previewed at www.facebook.com/UWWindham.

Hors d'oeuvres and other treats will be provided by Hardy Foard Catering, Grafton Village Cheese, Top Tier Baking Co., and Vermont Country Deli, with a cash bar supplied by the Sportsmen's Lounge. The event is sponsored by The Merchants Bank Foundation, PCL Construction, Brattleboro Retreat, Brattleboro Subaru, Derby Building & Woodwork, Downs Rachlin Martin, and River Valley Credit Union, with media support by The Brattleboro Reformer and WKVT.

All proceeds of the Handbags for HOPE event benefit the United Way of Windham County's Fund for Quality Early Education, which provides grants to early childhood educators and caregivers for professional development, program improvement, and program enrichment.


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The Fund was established to address the need for quality early education and to provide opportunities for Windham County providers to access continued education, collaborate with other providers, and to engage in the STep Ahead Recognition System, a Vermont quality rating on a variety of measures. To date, the Fund has granted out $55,000 to 89 providers in Windham County.

Tickets to Handbags for HOPE are $30 and table reservations are available. Tickets can be purchased online at www.unitedwaywindham.org or in Brattleboro at Altiplano, Top Tier Baking Co., Verde for Garden & Home, and Vermont Country Deli.

For more information, call 802-257-4011.