Meridian Star

January 27, 2013

Power of the Purse pushing literacy

By Terri Ferguson Smith /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Volunteers are hoping women will open their hearts and their purses later this week for an evening of fun and fashion.

    It’s the first Power of the Purse in Meridian, an effort to raise money for Imagination Library, a literacy program for children.

    Sponsored by Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of East Mississippi, Power of the Purse will be a live and silent auction of “purse” items. It will include many designer purses donated by area shops, but it will also include original artisan pieces created in purse form, including painted canvases, pottery, jewelry, wire sculptures, notecards, totes, as well as gift certificates that will

bear a purse tag. Attendees will participate in bidding throughout the event.

    Power of the Purse will be held Thursday at the Temple Theatre Ballroom, and organizers want participants in the women-only event to enter through the side entrance.

    “We’re going to have full security at the Temple entrance,” said Susie Broadhead, chair of the Women’s Leadership Council, United Way of East

Mississippi. “There will also be security at the parking garage where there is no charge to park.”

    Broadhead, co-chair of the event, explained how she and Angie Denney, co-chair, came up with the idea of hosting a the fundraiser.

    “Power of the Purse is an event that Angie and I attended in Athens, Ga.,

back in late September 2012. The United Way of Northeast Georgia was hosting their 10th annual event which was a purse auction to fund the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program,” Broadhead said.  “We brought the design of the event home, and re-designed it to work for us. We then organized a committee of positive, passionate, powerful women with a purpose to fund books for 1,000 area children who are between the ages of 0 and 5. The committee has met regularly and faithfully since Nov. 6, 2012.”

    POP is a grassroots effort with sponsorship levels being the number of books that a donation could furnish, she said. Broadhead said they are trying to reach an additional 1,000 children in the area by raising $30,000 for Imagination Library.

    Proceeds from the POP event Thursday will go to purchase books for

children. The $30 ticket for admission to the event is the participant’s opportunity to bid on silent and live auction items.

    “All of our biddable items will have a retail value of at least $50,” she said. “Some will have a retail value of up to $1,000. Local retailers have been so generous to donate items to us during these tough economic times.”

    Coach purses, as well as handbags from designers such as Louis Vuitton, Kate Spain, and Michael Kors will be up for auction. There will also be a table with gently-used and new purses donated by area women, Broadhead said.

    The sneak peek will start at 5:30 and the event will be held from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. The cost for admission is $30, which covers the cost of one year of

books for one child.

    Other sponsorships for Imagination Library are also available. They are:

    • $500 - provides books for 17 area children for one year

    • $1,000 - provides books for 34 area children for one year

    • $1,500 - provides books for 50 area children for one year

    • $3,000 - provides books for 100 area children for one year

    • $5,000 - provides books for 167 area children for one year

    Broadhead expects a great turn out.

    “Meridian always rises up to support things that impact and better our community,” she said, “especially when children are involved."

    Tickets are available at United Way of East Mississippi, 2003 23rd Ave., Meridian, or by calling 601.693.2732.