Library Hosts Drop Off For Donated Purses/Items For Homeless, Sheltered Women

Helping Hearts & Handbags, Inc. has organized a purse/item drive at the Mt. Olive Public Library.
Collections will continue through August.
Thankful for the contributions so far, the non-profit organization was invited by the library to continue its drive there.
“It has been so successful- box has been emptied at least a dozen times- that the library has agreed to host the drive the entire summer,” says Lisa Wagner, longtime Mt. Olive resident and founder of the 501 (c) (3) charity. “Now is a great time to clean out your closets and donate your “gently-used” purses to homeless women living in shelters or on the streets. Helping Hearts & Handbags fills them with personal
care items the women need, as well as including a personal, handwritten note. “It’s a wonderful and easy way for women to help other women,” says Wagner. “I know how busy we all are these days, but this is such a lovely way for us to remind those less fortunate ladies that other
women care about them. And the purse restores a bit of dignity to an otherwise extremely difficult life, as well as a tool to look more professional when job searching. It’s such a win-win!”
Personal care items being collected include:
Travel size soap, shampoo/conditioner, lotion, toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant and tissue packs, sanitary pads and tampons, antibacterial hands wipes and sanitizer, ladies socks, sunscreen/Chapstick,
instant coffee packets, tea bags and oatmeal packets.
To date, Helping Hearts & Handbags has distributed more than 700 purses to women living on the streets, as well as local shelters like Bridges Outreach; Family Promise of Morris, Sussex, and Warren; Homeless Solutions; Safe Harbor; a Morris County domestic abuse shelter; Covenant House; Rafael’s Safe House; Midnight Run; Project Humanize; Operation Address the Homeless and many more.
“While we are constantly thanked by the homeless women and shelter coordinators, we recently received a note that really blew us away,” says Grainne Kahan, a board member of HH&H’s in charge of
purse/item inventory. “It was from the street outreach team at Covenant House in Newark who works with runaway kids getting them off of very dangerous streets into a safe facility. Because of the Helping Hearts & Handbags purses, young girls who in the past would have nothing to do with the team were now coming up to them to pick out a purse. It was the first time many of them connected with one of the team members and it’s the first step in getting them to trust the team and hopefully, get them off of the streets.
“I have to say that brought a few tears to our eyes,” says Kahan. “We are constantly humbled by our mission and so happy to be making a small difference in the lives of these young girls and women.”
Helping Hearts & Handbags also gratefully accepts monetary donations through its website
at and always welcomes volunteers. For more information, email or call (908) 310-1448.

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