By Suzanne Schmidt
A local moms group is working to empower women at the Sunrise of Pasco County shelter for abused women by providing them with purses.
Brie Hertz, co-leader of Wesley Chapel Mothers & More, said she thinks it is a perfect community service project for the group.
“The women going to Sunrise are in their darkest hour,” Hertz said. “A woman’s symbol of her power is her purse. It is the mission of Mothers & More to improve the lives of women through education, support and advocacy and Sunrise does that for women.”
The group is a part of the national Mothers & More organization and is made up of women from Lutz, Land O’ Lakes, Wesley Chapel and New Tampa. The Power of the Purse is a national program the organization does every year around Mother’s Day.
Four boxes for donations are at Sage Salon & Spa at Connerton in Land O’ Lakes, Kidz Club of Tampa Palms in New Tampa, Seal Swim School in Lutz and My Gym Children’s Fitness Center in Wesley Chapel until May 12. Those wishing to donate can also contact the moms club at .
Tracey Tanner of Land O’ Lakes, co-leader of the group, said this is one of her favorite service projects.
“We are looking for modestly-used purses,” Tanner said. “We don’t want to get purses that look old and worn. As a woman, your power is in your purse. It is symbolic of a woman’s power. I love doing this because we are reaching out to other mothers.”
The group is also hoping to fill the purses with brand-new toiletry items.
“We are working on getting new toiletry items donated from places like Target, Wal-Mart and CVS,” Tanner said. “We want to fill the purses with them.”
Stacy Lee of New Tampa is the community outreach coordinator for the group. She said she loves helping out the women at Sunrise. Last year the organization donated 101 purses to The Spring, a domestic abuse shelter in Tampa.
“Based on the services they perform, we figured it was the perfect place,” Lee said. “Last year we donated all the purses to The Spring. This year we decided to give them to Sunrise because they are for Pasco County.”
The group will present the purses and toiletry items to a representative from Sunrise at their May 19th meeting.
Trish Kley, director of development, said she is excited about the help from the moms club.
“Many times the women leave with nothing and they can’t get back in,” Kley said. “It is especially nice for the ladies in the shelter who have court appearances. We have a clothes closet for women going to court that we are looking forward to matching up the outfits with purses.”
The moms group primarily focuses on the mother with mom’s night outs, couples’ night outs, a scrap booking club and a book club in addition to the kid focused activities like play groups and events like Busch Gardens and zoo outings.
“We focus on the mother because we value all the work mothers do,” Tanner said. “We are a group for working mothers as well as stay-at-home moms.”
The club is looking for new members. For more information, visit mothersandmore.org/chapters/wesleychapel.
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