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We celebrated the financial power women hold and spread confidence, donated purses, community spirit and joy. In cities across the nation, Mothers & More chapters rose to the challenge and inspired others to do the same. From a unique garage sale find to partnerships with boutiques and even a mall, members of Mothers & More across the country united for a successful Power of a Purse 2012 campaign. This year, chapters nationwide collected over 5,100 purses as well as a thousands of toiletry items, for donations to help fellow women in the communities where chapter members live. Each donation helped to make a difference in a woman’s life, not to mention the tremendous support these efforts showed for the volunteers and organizations in members’ communities.
“You have no idea how excited all these clients will be to get such beautiful purses and name brand personal products,” said Linda Conroy of SOS Shelter in Endicott, NY. “When we’re able to make a domestic violence victim feel special even for just a moment, it often times is just enough to keep them from giving up. This is huge.” Since it was launched four years ago, Power of a Purse has collected over 20,000 purses, and thousands of personal care items as well.
Power of a Purse goes beyond collecting items to include educational programs for chapter members and the community, focusing on the campaign’s goal, drawing attention to mothers’ economic issues. This year, members availed themselves of the opportunity to participate in webinars, including one hosted by author Kristin Maschka entitled “Six Biggest Money Mistakes Mothers Make.” Blackwell hosted the second webinar, “Empower Your Purse.” As the campaign wraps up, the efforts of chapters continues to resonate throughout the communities as donations are distributed and those impacted by the contributions feel the Power of a Purse.
Here’s how it all happened.
DuPage, IL, Chapter 1 - 120 purses for: Poised for Success and People's Resource Center. Chicago-area Lord & Taylor stores donated purses, wallets, make-up bags, and toiletry samples. Members also donated purses at several chapter activities in May.
Rochester, NY, Chapter 9 - 22 purses for: YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County. Rochester, NY, Lord & Taylor store employees donated purses and wallets.
Oakland County, MI, Chapter 13 - 325 purses for: Haven, Career Dress and Neighborhood House. The chapter advertised their campaign in local and county newspapers and were able to collect many new purses in collection boxes located at Whole Foods. A widower shared what the campaign meant to him when he donated ten of his late wife's new leather designer purses.
Summit Greater Area, NJ, Chapter 14 - 39 purses for: Dress for Success of Morris County. Westfield, NJ, Lord & Taylor store employees collected the purses as well as wallets and nice costume jewelry.
Buffalo, NY, Chapter 25 - 30 purses for: Teaching and Restoring Youth. Buffalo, NY, Lord & Taylor store employees donated purses, makeup bags containing new makeup, and clothing and toiletry items.
Bergen County, NJ, Chapter 40 - 100 purses for: Shelter Our Sisters . Members picked up purses and two boxes of personal care items from three Lord & Taylor stores in the Bergen County, NJ, area.
Broome-Tioga, NY, Chapter 52 - 145 purses for: SOS Shelter. Lord & Taylor employees from the Wilkes-Barre, PA, and Syracuse, NY, stores donated purses, make-up bags, and a few hundred toiletry samples. Members and other local individuals and organizations also donated purses and backpacks. A representative from the SOS Shelter, Inc., commented how wonderful it was to be able to provide "luxury" personal care items, since they usually are only able to provide the basics to the women they serve.
Morris County, NJ, Chapter 66 - 41 purses for: Dress for Success of Morris County. Purses, make-up bags, and toiletry items were donated by employees of the Bridgewater, NJ, Lord & Taylor store and by chapter members.
Metro West, MA, Chapter 95 - 116 purses for: to be determined. Five Lord & Taylor stores in the Greater Boston area collected purses, clothing, jewelry and cosmetics.
Metro East , IL, Chapter 126 - 10 purses for: Dress for Success Midwest. The chapter also collected briefcases, professional attire, shoes and accessories. A member spoke at a chapter meeting about "gaining confidence and control of our individual paths."
Maplewood/South Orange, NJ, Chapter 128 - 80 purses for: OASIS - A Women and Children Haven. Purses, wallets, and toiletry items were collected at two New Jersey Lord & Taylor stores as well as at several members' homes and local businesses. The chapter used the Empowered PURSE program at its June meeting to help moms think about and discuss spending habits in a safe environment, figure out financial goals, and plan for the future.
Oakland County Lakes Area, MI, Chapter 135 - 0 purses for: to be determined. Instead of collecting purses, the chapter is collecting other items needed by a local women's shelter.
Grand Rapids, MI, Chapter 137 - 0 purses for: . The chapter hosted financial discussions on its online loop and held a chapter meeting about the biggest money mistakes mothers make.
Northern Virginia, VA, Chapter 143 - 39 purses for: Embry Rucker Shelter and Katherine Hanley Shelter. Three Lord & Taylor stores in the Northern VA/Southern MD area collected pureses, perfume, hair products, and other miscellaneous items from employees.
NW Ohio / Findlay, OH, Chapter 151 - 108 purses for: Findlay Hope House and Hispanic Outreach Program. Purses and other items collected were given to women at both organizations. The residents of Findlay Hope House were treated to a special open house that included dinner and a historical museum tour and scavenger hunt. Members had a great time getting to know the women, and, according to the resident director, the women "had a blast" and loved being treated to a fun night out!
Pittsburgh South Hills, PA, Chapter 164 - 30 purses for: Womensplace Inc.. The chapter collected purses as well as toiletry items donated from Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works. A local professional women's organization, POWER of Southpoint, supported Power of a Purse by collecting hundreds of donated items from their members at their annual dinner.
Green Bay, WI, Chapter 179 - 0 purses for: to be determined. The chapter hosted a local coupon expert at its June meeting to speak about topics relating to coupons, sales and discounts at local stores.
Boulder County, CO, Chapter 209 - 50 purses for: Boulder County YWCA. The chapter collected purses from members and filled them with goody bags containing tissue packs, nail files, Chapstick, note pads, calculators, mints, etc. Members attended one of the final sessions of the Boulder County YWCA's ten week course entitled "Getting Ahead", provided to fifteen women (mostly mothers) living below the poverty level. At the class, members brought along the donated purses, provided dessert, and enjoyed a celebration with the program's participants.
Orlando, FL, Chapter 216 - 225 purses for: Greater Orlando Dress for Success. The chapter collected purses at seven locactions, and was excited to report that the campaign was even more successful than the one they held last year.
El Paso, TX, Chapter 282 - 65 purses for: YWCA Transitional Living Center. As a first year Power of a Purse participant, the chapter was excited to collect many purses, wallets, and dozens of personal items (including lipsticks, hand lotions, nail files, etc.).
Delaware County, PA, Chapter 288 - 68 purses for: Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware Valley. Two Philadelphia-area Lord & Taylor stores donated purses and makeup bags in addition to purses and toiletry items donated by members.
Greater New Haven, CT, Chapter 297 - 127 purses for: CareWays and Martha's Place shelters. Members, the community, and three Connecticut Lord & Taylor stores participated in the campaign, donating purses, clothing, and toiletry items. Half of the purses were filled with toiletry items and donated to women at a shelter at an early Mother's Day brunch, and the other half were donated to the other shelter.
Twin Cities East, MN, Chapter 299 - 738 purses for: Tubman. Eight community partners participated in the chapter's campaign, which was promoted by a local shopping center as the honored non-profit at their annual Girls' Night Out event. The event served as the campaign's kick-off, and resulted in many purses collected and a lot of community exposure. An Open House held during the campaign featured a speaker who emphasized the need for mothers to plan for their own purses (financial stability) throughout life.
Pike County, PA, Chapter 302 - 238 purses for: Project Self-Sufficiency and TriState Pregnancy Center . Many local businesses generously offered to host collection boxes, and two Lord & Taylor stores participated in the campaign.
Clarkston Area, MI, Chapter 305 - 90 purses for: Handbags of Hope and Career Dress. Two Michigan Lord & Taylor stores collected purses, accessories and clothing from their employees.
Capital Region, NY, Chapter 310 - 250 purses for: YWCA. The chapter held a pizza lunch for 100 women at the YWCA, and each woman was able to choose at least two purses plus toiletry items. The event provided a great opportunity for chapter members to interact with YWCA residents.
DeKalb County, IL, Chapter 318 - 400 purses for: Safe Passage, Hope Haven, and Ben Gordon Center. The purses were filled with personal care items and donated to three organizations. This is the third year the chapter has participated in the campaign, and the members are always amazed at the community support they receive.
New York City, NY, Chapter 320 - 175 purses for: YWCA of the City of New York. Lord & Taylor store employees donated purses, makeup cases, and jewelry and makeup. The chapter sponsored a lunch for the YWCA Women's Empowerment Network, and Charles David NYC took professional pictures of the women. The Financial Planning Association of NYC presented important information about financial issues relating to employment.
Worcester County, MA, Chapter 327 - 78 purses for: Abby's House and Dress for Success. The chapter partnered with a preschool again this year to collect purses (some still with tags!), wallets, cosmetic bags, and fanny packs. The purses deemed more "professional" were donated to Dress for Success, and the other purses were donated to Abby's House.
Tucson, AZ, Chapter 333 - 450 purses for: New Beginnings for Women and Children. In addition to purses, the chapter also collected items to fill the purses, clothing, and shoes.
Ramona, CA, Chapter 334 - 40 purses for: to be determined. The new and growing chapter of seven members participated in the campaign for the first time. Two local businesses hosted collection boxes, collecting purses, lotions, makeup, and other personal care items. The campaign press release was covered by the local newspaper.
Southern Ocean, NJ, Chapter 341 - 174 purses for: Hansen House. Four New Jersey Lord & Taylor stores donated purses (including many designer brands), toiletry items and cosmetics.
Edwardsville Area, IL, Chapter 369 - 410 purses for: Dress for Success and Good Samaritan House. This new chapter collected purses and wallets for their first Power of a Purse Campaign at collection bins placed at two local libraries, and two churches and a local business also collected purses. The chapter also held a financial meeting in May.
Sussex County, NY, Chapter 375 - 200 purses for: Circles. This brand-new chapter collected over 200 purses as well as cosmetics, wallets, calculators and other accessories from nine drop-off locations across the county. The chapter far exceeded their original goal of collecting 30 purses.
Westchester County, NY, Chapter Member at large - 118 purses for: YWCA of White Plains. Three New York and Connecticut Lord & Taylor stores collected purses and assorted cosmetics to donate to the campaign. The staff had fun collecting the items and would love to participate again next year.