The Pacific Power of the Purse (POP) committee has added a new element to its annual fundraising benefit in a plan to help Franklin County women’s self help programs.

The annual ladies night out is a popular fundraiser that combines women’s love of purses with the fashion show runway spoof of male models.

The event has grown into a major fundraiser for the Franklin County United Way. It is held annually in Pacific and neighboring communities.

Members of the community donate handbags that are sold through silent auction and live auction.

The 2019 Power of the Purse, the eighth for Pacific, will be held Thursday, March 7, at the Eagles Hall, 707 West Congress. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The cost to attend is $25 per person or $200 for a table of eight, which includes a light dinner and libations.

The committee hopes to attract more than the 240 patrons who attended last year.

Pacific has traditionally been a top achiever in this annual benefit. In the past six years, Pacific POP has raised more than $90,000 for the United Way.

New Twist

This year, the Pacific POP committee will step up its women empowerment mission by helping women who are rebuilding their lives through self-help organizations.

The committee is asking patrons to donate gently used purses that will be given to United Way organizations that prepare women to return to work.

The used purse project is the brainchild of Mary Beth Schmidt, who said all women love purses.

“The success of the Power of the Purse idea came about because someone was thinking out of the box,” Schmidt said. “The gently used purses for women who are striving to improve their lives is another way of thinking out of the box.”

Donated gently used purses will be given to Franklin County women’s self-help organizations ALIVE and Turning Point. Any evening or formalwear purses that are donated will be given to Jeannie Bandermann for the Meramec Valley School District prom dress program for students.

Dennis Oliver, American Family Insurance, will chair this year’s event.

For tickets, call Oliver, 636-257-5925, or Franklin County Area United Way, 636-239-1018.

Tickets also are available online at