BRATTLEBORO >> The United Way of Windham County invites the public to its Handbags for HOPE, to be held on Thursday, April 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the VFW Carl M. Dessaint Post 1034.

This fun, ladies' night out will feature a silent and live auction featuring local personality Jean Gilbert as auctioneer. Handbags for HOPE will benefit the United Way's Fund for Quality Early Education and is being held during Month of the Young Child.

More than 100 items will be up for auction, including designer bags by Kate Spade, Calvin Klein, and Michael Kors, artisan-made bags, totes, purses, evening bags, backpacks, briefcases, and local goods and services. Bags and other auction items have been donated by local companies and stores, designers, artists, and United Way supporters. Select auction items can be previewed at www.facebook.com/UWWindham.

Appetizers and desserts will be provided by Hardy Foard Catering, Top Tier Baking Co., and Vermont Country Deli, with a cash bar available.

The event is sponsored by The Merchants Bank Foundation, Brattleboro Subaru, Brattleboro Retreat, Brattleboro Savings & Loan, Derby Building & Woodwork, Downs Rachlin Martin, and River Valley Credit Union, with in-kind support by The Brattleboro Reformer and The Richards Group.

All proceeds of the Handbags for HOPE event benefit the United Way's Fund for Quality Early Education, which provides grants to early childhood educators and caregivers. The Fund was established in 2008 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 (STARS), Vermont's quality rating. To date, the Fund has made over 100 grants totaling $81,000 to providers in Windham County.


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Tickets to Handbags for HOPE are on sale now for $35, with table reservations for six or eight available, and can be purchased online at www.unitedwaywindham.org or by contacting the UWWC office at 802-257-4011. To make a donation directly to the Fund, text "bag" to 41444.