BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — When we think little black dress, we think business meetings or perhaps a night out, but United Way puts a new spin on the concept: raising awareness for a bigger issue. It’s called, the “Little Black Dress Campaign.”

“So, what we do is wear the same black dress for four consecutive days. What that does is it promotes what women, children, and men go through when they go into poverty. They don’t have the nicest clothes when they go into a job interview. So, what we do is they get sent to a dry cleaner. Whoever wants to donate their dress or another little black dress, they get it cleaned. And that goes to a program that helps women who want to be in the workforce to have that option to get nice clothes,” said Haley Boeder, marketing specialist for United Way.

More than 150 community leaders are participating by demonstrating some of the financial barriers people in poverty face when getting back into the workforce.

Access to professional clothing, shoes, and laundry services are just some of the many challenges highlighted throughout the week. The funds raised will go to support individuals right here in our community.

There are also programs happening this week, highlighting even more areas to focus on in our region. This includes education, literacy, and childhood hunger.

“For the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, where kids get books every month for free for ages 0-5. And then, we have our backpack program that our funds go to. So, that’s $5 every week for 1,654 children. That’s about $8,000 per week,” said Boeder, “So, we have sponsors for that and people that are backpacking those backpacks, and it also goes to adopt a classroom. It’s where a volunteer goes into a school in a certain classroom for an hour a week. One hour every two weeks. They go in, read to kids, and make sure they are getting the education they need,”

Up next for MSA United Way is the Imagine a World Without Poverty event, which will be held this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Heritage Center.