By Michelle Poirier

The 8th annual Fill a Purse for a Sister Campaign is well underway across Canada and the Georgina community lead, Mona Steitieh, has set a goal of collecting 500 filled purses by the end of November.

This is Steitieh’s second year as community lead, last year she collected 342 filled purses which were donated to domestic violence shelters, women’s shelters, rape crisis centers and social services that support women all across York Region.

The Fill a Purse for a Sister Campaign website says the campaign “brings comfort, hope and dignity to women and youth in crisis with the gift of purses filled with personal necessities.”

When Angel Freedman, founder and president of the campaign, started in 2015 she collected 1,500 purses and the campaign has only continued to grow with over 10,000 purses across Canada donated in 2021.

Steitieh said she knows that finances are challenging this year with the cost of living rising, but if it is within your means, she appreciates the donation.

“A lot of these women, they escape these environments and situations where they walk out with nothing, barely a jacket and maybe their wallet, and they’re starting from zero. It’s to bring comfort to them, so they know that they’re not alone, that we’re here for them,” she said.

“Georgina is known for community, so I think it’s innate in us, Georgina residents, to help our community, because we’re so caring, because we’re so community driven.”

One of the places that will receive filled purse donations is Sandgate Women’s Shelter of York Region Inc., they have a shelter located in Georgina and in Richmond Hill.

According to Sandgate’s 2018/2019 Annual Report, Sandgate Women’s Shelter had 787 women and 264 children access their services, they received 969 crisis calls, and 219 women were supported through outreach.

“During this season, especially during the holidays, these women need this hope, they need this comfort, they need the dignity of knowing that what they’re doing takes a lot of courage and that we’re with them. We’re trying to help them get back on their feet and escape situations that no one should have to endure.” Steitieh said.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation website says more than four in 10 women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence (IPV), and in 2018, 44 per cent of women reported experiencing some form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes. Approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.

The campaign asks that you donate a new or gently used purse filled with full sized products such as: body wash, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, a toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, hand sanitizer, a hairbrush, tissues, a notepad, a pen, a scarf, gloves, socks, a hat, a flashlight, a whistle, gift cards, and they say including an encouraging note is always a thoughtful touch.

They ask that you do not donate any used or open products, any hotel size products, a worn or ripped purse, any expired products, or any food.

Steitieh said this year they are lacking products, as there have been 100 empty purses donated which need to be filled.

Filled purses can be dropped off at: Auntie M’s Closet (2-482 The Queensway South, Keswick), Sweet Pea Accessories (130 High Street, Sutton), Whole Family Health (236 Dovedale Drive, Unit 7, Keswick), Hospice Georgina (20849 Dalton Road at The Link, Sutton), Colour Central Hair Studio and Spa (422 The Queensway South, Keswick), and Naturally Enchanted (416-726-5792).

The campaign began on September 1 and the purses will be picked up on December 1, so get your purses into one of the drop off locations before the end of the month.

You can also make a financial donation at www.fillapurseforasistercampaign.

For more information you can visit the Fill a Purse for a Sister website or contact Mona Steitieh at (905) 235-2009.



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