My dear friend, Cindy Boynton started a non-profit called Pretty Little Purses to help homeless women. Her first collection happened this week and it was a success! Read Cindy's information below on what inspires her, how December's collection went, and be on the look-out for a FemCon + Pretty Little Purses event on Valentines day.
What is Pretty Little Purses?
Pretty Little Purses is an organization that sponsors donation drives benefiting homeless women in Chicago. The idea behind Pretty Little Purses began almost 2 years ago when I first moved to Chicago in March 2015. Living in downtown Chicago, I walked everywhere and anywhere I could to get to know the city. One night walking back home from the gym I saw a homeless woman that was asking for change. Normally, I don’t carry change but this time I had some in my jacket pocket and it was so bitter cold that I felt compelled to help this woman in anyway I could. I stopped in front of her and put my hand in my pocket and pulled out everything I had in there. The woman said she would appreciate anything I could give her. Looking at my hand I had about $1.50 in change, Chapstick, and a piece of gum. I asked “Even the Chapstick?” She said, “Of course!” It was at that moment that I began thinking about the other things we should be donating to homeless women. Why not give her lipgloss or nail polish or even hair ties? They need to paint their nails and pull their hair back too! It was this thinking that led to a greater concept/idea: Just because you are homeless does not mean you cannot be empowered to feel confident and beautiful. On December 21st, Pretty Little Purses held our first donation drive at Sarah’s Circle homeless shelter in Uptown Chicago. We had over 50 purses donated from all over the country including, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Washington, New Jersey, Arizona, Hawaii, and California. With a “12 days of Christmas” holiday theme, we put together a list of 12 essential items to include in each purse. From lipsticks to hand lotions to scarves and gloves to keep them warm during the Chicago winter, these things are must-have in every woman’s purse. Each purse also includes an inspiring message written by hand as a way to encourage the women to never give up and to continue working towards their goals. The reality is that these purses are more than just a holiday donation drive to help homeless women during the cold months of winter. It’s the start of series of opportunities for homeless women to become empowered and gain the confidence necessary to achieve their goals. For now, these purses will be a small reminder that no matter how hard the journey can be you can always find a little something in your purse to make you feel pretty.