HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The United Way of Pioneer Valley held its Power of the Purse event Thursday in Holyoke.

The giveaway event was meant to benefit women and girls in Holyoke, South Hadley and Granby. Purses were distributed to service organizations in each of those communities on Thursday. Each were filled with toiletries, cosmetics, hygiene products, words of encouragement, and small gifts as well as keychains with lists of local social service resources.

Jennifer Kinsman, Director of Community Impact at United Way of Pioneer Valley told 22News, “We put together little keychains, listing all the shelters and food pantries and domestic violence resources, and we put those in donated purses together with a ton of toiletries and useful items for women to receive when they’re in shelters or other social service programs.”

As one recent recipient noted, “I had had a hectic day, then I saw all this activity near my building. I met the United Way staff and they invited me to volunteer for the Power of the Purse project. It was so much fun to be part of a team, and to be able to help other people too! It got me outside of myself and changed my perspective on my own problems. And I actually received a purse myself; I’m surprised how much more confident I feel about myself with it, and I’ve already used some of the resource contacts.”

“We are extremely grateful to the many local companies who pulled their employees together to hold collection drives to support Power of the Purse.  Volunteers from the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, Westover Job Corps, and TD Bank helped sort and pack the purses and fillers. They will in turn get them in the hands of the women who need them in Holyoke, South Hadley, and Granby,” said Alice Buckner, Director of Resource Development.

The following is a list of sponsors and partners:

  • Bacon & Wilson
  • Belmont Laundry
  • Comcast
  • Eink
  • Hampden County Sheriff After Incarceration Support Services
  • Ladybug Body-Mind Healing
  • M&T Bank
  • PeoplesBank
  • Solenis
  • Surner Heating
  • TD Bank
  • Viability MOMS Group
  • Vivid Salon & Spa
  • Westover Job Corps Center