Life doesn’t always work out as expected and sometimes, there are circumstances beyond our control that impact our lives.  In our community and surrounding areas there are hundreds of women every year who receive support from social service agencies and churches.  Some are seeking shelter, safety and refuge.  Some seek support in rebuilding their lives following tragic circumstances, some are recovering from illness and having a tough time making ends meet.   

Can you imagine finding yourself in need of personal care items and not having the resources to quickly run into a store to pick them up?   Sometimes, it’s the small things that matter most & make a world of difference.

In the Fall of 2016, Lynne Smith with the support of the United Church Women’s group (UCW) from the Westminster United Church in Orangeville and volunteer community members, initiated the Purse Project to benefit women in Dufferin County, Peel Region, Wellington County and surrounding communities.  Partnering social service organizations, the UCW requested community donations of purses and contents of personal care items, toiletries, health and beauty products and non-perishable snacks.  Donated purses were stuffed, delivered and the outreach activities began. 

Fast forward a year…  The UCW with the support of community volunteers and donations received have filled and delivered 140 purses.   Purses were distributed to women in need through partnerships with the following social service organizations through their respective outreach programs:

  • CHOICES Youth Shelter, Orangeville
  • Orangeville Caledon Dufferin Victim Services
  • Orangeville Police Services
  • St. Marks Anglican Church, Orangeville
  • St. Vincent De Paul, Orangeville
  • Westminster United Church, Orangeville
  • Family Transition Place (only accept surplus items for their clients).

The program continues to expand and we deliver purses to our existing social service agency partners and are pleased to have recently partnered with:

  • East Wellington Community Services, Erin

If there are any other agencies that would like to partner with us, we welcome them to the program!

The Purse Project has an open request to process 75 purses to meet the needs of the outreach programs and are seeking our community members to help us meet the target this Fall!  Please take a moment to learn how you can make a big impact in the life of a woman in our community!

How you can help:

  1. Donate a new or gently used purse containing personal care items.
  2. Donate a new or gently used purse (clean & empty).
  3. Donate personal care items to fill the purses.
  4. Volunteer to help the UCW fill purses.
  5. Volunteer to deliver filled purses to community organizations and women in need.
  6. Make a monetary donation to purchase personal care items (Westminster Church, Orangeville will provide a tax receipt for any monetary contributions).
  7. Volunteer for community outreach. Share this initiative within your network to facilitate community outreach to make this project a success!
  8. Plan an event & request your guests to donate to the Purse Project in lieu of gifts!

Personal care items sought:

  • *Feminine hygiene products (pads, liners and tampons)
  • *Deodorant
  • *Soap bar or body wash
  • Body lotion
  • Razors
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes
  • Q-tips, cotton balls
  • *Toothpaste, tooth brush
  • Dental floss and mouthwash
  • Lip balm and moisturizers
  • Socks and slippers
  • Gloves, mittens, ear muffs, hats and scarves (fall & winter)
  • Nail clippers & files
  • Nail polish & nail polish remover
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • *Hair comb or small brush
  • Hair clips & elastics
  • Cosmetics
  • Tissue Packets 
  • Gift cards to grocery stores, department & dollar stores
  • Non-perishable snacks (granola, protein & cereal bars; raisins; trail mix)

Items marked with [ * ] are placed in every purse, other items are added based on available donations.

 Drop-off sites:

  • Orangeville Police Services located at 390 C Line, Orangeville Ontario 24/7.
  • Westminster United Church located at 247 Broadway, Orangeville, Ontario on Tuesday’s to Thursday’s from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Thursday evenings from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
  • All monetary donations are to be processed by the Westminister United Church office Tuesday’s to Thursday’s from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Inquires for the Purse Project can be directed to:

Ida Tetlock, Profesional Organizer at SMART Organizing is proud to support community services in Dufferin County and and surrounding areas. Partnering with the the UCW Purse Project in November, 2016 as a volunteer to help with community outreach and delivering purses.
Additional References:

Purse Project – The UCW organizing a community initiative in Dufferin County!

Police and local Church team up for the “Purse Project” Sep 30, 2016.

The Purse Project helps give Ottawa homeless women basic necessities Dec 14, 2015.

Woman starts ‘Project Purse’ to help homeless women in Ottawa Nov 21, 2015.

Women Helping Women – #PeriodProject

SMART Organizing offers services in Dufferin County and surrounding areas including: Amaranth, Brampton, Caledon, East Garafraxa, Erin, Grand Valley, Hillsburgh, Melancthon, Mono, Mulmur, Orangeville and Shelburne.

To learn more about SMART Organizing, visit the website and contact us!