Santa Barbara County, Calif. - A group of local residents started a give-back called The Purse Project. They donate purses or bags filled with essentials for the homeless. As the founder says they are giving "an old bag a new life."
The COVID-19 shelter at home has inspired many to do some deep spring cleaning. Santa Barbara resident Cheryl Giefer decided to use her old purses and bags to help the homeless.
“The idea of The Purse Project is getting people to donate their purses and products to go inside the purses.”
She and the nonprofit Adam's Angels teamed to stuff bags with essentials and COVID-19 protective equipment.
“Each little bag contains body lotions and body washes, shaving kits, sunscreens and lots of other essentials,” said Giefer.
Adam McKaig is the founder of the nonprofit Adam's Angel, which provides food and donations to the homeless. When Giefer suggested using the donated purses they received for giving away essentials, he was all in.
“Every household has a backpack, a bag, a purse that you are not using that is in the back of your closest,” insisted McKaig.
The duo put together a team of volunteers to assemble the bags, giving away over 100 purses so far.
“If we reach out to help one person at a time, if each person does that, it becomes a big swell,” said photographer and Purse Project volunteer Jodie Willard.
EOS Lounge on Anacapa Street donated their space for the volunteers to work from.
“Look at how many bags we filled today,” exclaimed Giefer standing over hundreds of bags.
The group continuously drops the bags off to the homeless and wants to enlist other communities to do the same. They invite others to join their cause in the capacity they are able to.
“If they want to initiate it they can do it themselves at home, or donate to us and we will do it for them,” said Giefer.
“Keep the packed bag or purse in your car. Then as you are driving throughout the day when you see that homeless person that resonates with you, gift them with the bag,” said McKaig.
“It's such a wonderful feeling to see a smile on their faces and for them to know they were noticed and thought of, especially during this pandemic,” said Giefer.
If you would like to donate to The Purse Project go to @ThePurseProjectSB on Instagram.