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What do you keep in your handbag?

Lisa Car, at right, delivered 76 filled purses for Unity House’s shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Identification, some money, possibly some tissues. Or a hairbrush, some makeup, maybe even snacks and toys for the children. 

Imagine if that’s all you had.

What if you found yourself seeking refuge in a shelter for victims of domestic violence and arrived with just your purse, along with your children?

For Lisa Carson, a woman who was looking for a way to help women in our shelter, she thought of purses. Victims of domestic violence face an uphill battle: crafting a safety plan and executing it in both the short and long term often means starting over in a way few can imagine. Resources are scarce, luxuries few and far between.

Lisa’s work is Purses with Promise. Over the course of the year she collects bags: small handbags to large satchels and fills them with sundries that are both useful and hopeful. Each bag might contain personal care items like a new toothbrush, some lotion, and feminine hygiene products. A new wallet, a collapsible tote, a datebook, snacks, and inspirational quotes fill the bags to capacity. On the handle of each bag is a hand-made tag that reads, ‘You are known and loved by God.’ purse-with-tag-1

To know that someone sees you, someone hears you – isn’t that what so many need? It may be just a purse, but to those in need who are starting over in sometimes the most drastic of ways, a Purse with Promise can be a lifesaver.

Just after Thanksgiving, Lisa stopped by with 76 purses for residents of Sojourner Place, the Unity House shelter for victims of domestic violence. These bags are such a blessing, especially at this time of year, which can be challenging for so many. We are grateful to Lisa for these wonderful gifts. Lisa is a busy mom to young children so we were especially grateful that she personally delivered these gifts to Unity House’s Front Door. We had the opportunity to meet her and say thanks in person.

We first heard of Lisa’s personal ministry in February when she started Purses with Promise and delivered purses for Valentine’s Day. We are thrilled she has been able to carry on and impressed that she collected and filled so many lovely bags – 76 of them! Many thanks to Lisa and  her helpers, to Larry of the Grace in Action Team who helped coordinate delivery, and to the greater Grace Fellowship community who do so much for Unity House and beyond. For more information on Grace Fellowship, please visit their website.