Power of a Purse Campaign: From Tara Brettholtz, Mothers & More

Earlier this month I posted all the reasons it makes sense to talk about mothers and money this month, including  the Mothers & More 2010 Mother’s Day Campaign: Power of  Purse. I’m so glad to be able to share this guest post from Tara Brettholtz, who started the whole thing last year. Tara tells us the story of how the campaign came to be plus an update on the impact it is having this year in 44 local chapters in 23 cities across the country! It’s not too late to donate a purse – read on to find out how.

~ Kristin

Sharing the Power of a Purse: How a Small Group of Moms Sparked a National Mother’s Day Campaign

This Mother’s Day, moms in 43 cities across the nation are making sure that more mothers to get the thanks and recognition they deserve.  It’s part of a campaign called Power of a Purse, and the idea is to collect new and gently used purses to give to mothers living in poverty, transitional housing and domestic violence situations to send a message of hope and support.

The idea was started by a Mothers & More chapter in Saratoga County, NY last spring when the group stumbled upon literature about a local YWCA that provides housing and support services to women and their children with no other place to go.  The group placed a call and met with a staff member to inquire about making some kind of donation.  They discovered that the women and kids there needed everything.

Suggestions of donating canned food or toiletries were met with sincere gratitude, but what Mothers & More members really wanted was to feed the spirits of these women who were struggling.

That’s when they thought of a purse.

“A purse has many layers of meaning to a woman, no matter how much money she has in it.  It’s a shot of confidence, a sense of security and a home away from home,” says Tara Brettholtz, project manager for the campaign and a director of Mothers & More.

The Saratoga County women needed over 100 purses to ensure that every woman supported by the YWCA would have one for Mother’s Day 2009.  Afraid to disappoint the women, these moms engaged local businesses and civic groups to help spread the message about the need for purses.

The call for help was met with unprecedented support – over 600 purses were collected in just a few weeks.  Word of the Saratoga moms’ success spread, which inspired mothers in four other states to see if they could replicate the idea.  In just two weeks, another 600 purses were collected from Massachusetts to California.

With this Mother’s Day approaching, the effort has grown to 43 cities in 23 states across the country and this year thousands more purses will be given to moms who have been hit hardest by the pocketbook issues that affect women.

Ejiah Gay, a mother who received one of the purses last year was recently interviewed for a television news story about the campaign, and told the reporter that before Power of a Purse, she had never celebrated a Mother’s Day in all her life.  Ms. Gay says that her goal now is to help other women as she has been helped by others.

Mothers & More wants to collect at least 3,000 purses nationwide this year, but they will need help – lots of help to achieve this goal.  If you would like to donate a purse, or small items to fill a purse, you can visit www.mothersandmore.org to find a Power of a Purse campaign near you.

~ Tara Brettholtz

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Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Economy, Guest Posts, Money, Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood

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