Donating purses to this organization can help victims of domestic violence

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Purses for Hope began 15 years ago in Travis County, and organizers said 45,000 purses have been donated to shelters since then.

“This program actually started by getting them into shelters in time for Mother’s Day, so if a mother is in a shelter and your child is with you, they may be able to grab one of those handbags and give a gift to you,” said Heather Bellino, executive director of the Texas Advocacy Project.

The nonprofit organization provides free legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and harassment in Texas. Each donated purse has a discreet tag that lists TAP’s toll-free line – (800) 374-HOPE – providing access to TAP’s legal and social services.

The need has grown to donate the bags beyond shelters.

“Right now, it’s really important for us to make sure we’re getting gender-neutral tote bags into the hands of healthcare providers, especially those who work with survivors of sexual assault and rape.” , Bellino said.

Handbags will be distributed to hospitals.

“Unfortunately, when someone has to go to the hospital and have a SANE exam, it can be very violent, upsetting and traumatic on top of the trauma they’ve already gone through,” Bellino said. “So for us to be able to provide something to take their stuff with them after some of that stuff has been taken out for case work, I think that’s going to be really helpful.”

The group asks that lightly used handbags be dropped off at locations listed here or at the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

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