Purses of Hope back for another year of giving
In just two years' time, Cheri Meyerhofer and Joanie Hammel have collected more than 750 purses for women in need in the Newberg community. They stuff those purses with the essentials: personal hygiene items like soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and more.
This year's goal is the same as any other for Purses of Hope: Collect as many gently used purses as possible to donate to various programs.
"We're hoping to collect about 300 purses again this year and we've already collected about 175," Meyerhofer said. "Different agencies have different things they like from the purses, so we've given them to entities in McMinnville, Newberg and Vancouver. We distribute them according to what their needs are."
Meyerhofer and Hammel started the purse drive in Newberg in 2016 after Meyerhofer had done something similar when she lived in Arizona. The ability to give back to the community, particularly women, is what drew her to the cause.
The drive benefits Love INC. locally along with other organizations around the state and metro area.
"People have become more aware," Meyerhofer said. "I have a friend who works in the police department and they know to save their purses and give them to us when the time comes. The more often we do this, the more people become aware and plan for it."
Personal hygiene items are welcome to be donated as well as purses. If the purses are in poor condition or worn down, they will not be accepted.
Meyerhofer said she was drawn to starting this program in Newberg by a simple desire to serve those in need. She has been around homeless and lower income people in professional settings in the past, so she knows that even essentials can be lacking for people in adverse situations.
Providing a purse for women that includes many of those items, she said, is as rewarding as it is essential.
"I have been on the board of directors of a couple of shelters in my past," Meyerhofer said. "I know how desperate some of these people are. They need so much, but sometimes it's just something simple or essential, and this is a way for me and for us to give back to the community."