Ladies, how attached are you to your purse? I know I am. There is a sense of security to be able to carry my important personal items with me wherever I go, and if I forget it at home, I feel kind of lost. That feeling is what helped spark the idea of the Love Purse, an organization that helps put purses filled with needed essentials and toiletries into the hands of women in shelters. “When you have to leave sometimes in the middle of the night because of danger and you just run out, you have nothing,” says Maria Castro, Love Purse’s Founder and CEO of Inspiration.
It all started during the pandemic when a close friend of Maria’s that owns a homeless shelter in Chicago needed help with toiletries since the residents could no longer share. Castro quickly went out and bought all the toiletries herself and decided she would put them in a purse to give to the ladies individually. “I thought using a purse helped give dignity and hope to women in distress who found themselves in the shelter,” says Castro. While assembling the purses, she came up with the idea to write notes of inspiration to put in each purse to show the recipient how much they are loved and respected. Now that the love purse donations (thanks to social media) have multiplied and expanded into many shelters, that note is still the most important part of their mission – putting love on the shoulders of women in need, one #LovePurse at a time.
Since the organization’s inception, they have donated over 6000 purses and not just in Illinois, but in Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada and the Ukraine. “We couldn’t do it without all of our angel ambassadors,” says Castro referring to someone who helps collect donated purses, for example, by having purse parties, toiletry drives, collections at churches and places of employment. “Our angels have become very creative with the different avenues to collect purses, and they are key in expanding this mission all over the world.”
Love Purse will host its Inaugural Gala and Silent Auction this fall on Thursday, October 6th at the beautiful Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst. The evening will feature keynote speaker Dennis McKinnon (former Chicago Bear), entertainment, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. To find more information on attending or sponsoring the Gala, becoming an angel ambassador or donating to the cause, visit online.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Mindy Kyle is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and is a veteran of Chicago’s theater and commercial world as well as a graduate of the Second City Improv School. Mindy lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.