BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — In Bismarck and Mandan alone, one in five people doesn’t have enough money to make ends meet. This is a problem the United Way hopes to solve with its Little Black Dress campaign- where fashion-forward philanthropy takes the spotlight.

During the event, women are asked to wear their own little black dress for four days — without washing it — in order to raise awareness for those suffering from the effects of poverty.

It’s worth noting, of course, that despite the name, the event isn’t exclusive to little black dresses: while formal attire (little black dresses, suits, or otherwise) is recommended, anyone who may not be able to wear their outfit is always welcome to donate to the event. After all, in the end, it’s the core message of Little Black Dress that matters: people rallying together to help tackle poverty both inside and outside their communities. In a previous conversation with KX, MSA United Way Marketing and Donations Manager Tiffany Eckroth stated the importance of working to better the conditions in and around local communties.

“When you get to see firsthand people that are living in poverty and seeing the struggles. One in five children don’t eat during the week, and those things are just so impactful to know. Knowing that you want to make a difference and seeing all these women come together to make that difference is just life-changing,” said Eckroth.

The fundraiser began at a luncheon and opening presentation on Monday, where guests heard from representatives from the United Way and the Dakota Children’s Advocacy Center. Here, key team leaders and members learned about the rules and regulations of the event. After the four days, on Thursday, a wrap party was held at the Heritage Center in Bismarck, featuring a silent auction

While the original goal of $50,000 wasn’t met by Thursday evening, more donations came pouring in during and after the event. and on Friday night, the total number of donations was reported to be over $48,000 — and that’s not counting the proceeds from the auction at the celebration event and the future donations expected to roll in over the weekend.

Although its been some time since events first returned to North Dakota, this was the first in-person Little Black Dress event in two years — and as things begin to open up even further, the group hopes that more people will join the cause and put on their Sunday best — or, their any-day best, for that matter — to help the United Way’s cause.

“I see things that are happening in the community, and I just want to do my part to make sure I’m giving back to the community, and using my voice to raise awareness as well, and helping whoever we can help, and helping people that need help in our own communities… and raising my children in a great environment in a community that is a great place to be.”

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