Paying it forward with purses of hope

Posted on 21st Dec 2015 @ 12:17 PM

It should be no surprise that Arizona has its share of Canadian snowbirds. Not only is our state beautiful, but for the most part, it's pretty warm. One snowbird, Winnipeg resident Colleen Baldwin, knows very well that Christmas is a time of both giving and receiving.

A "simple, yet brilliant idea," she says, to collect purses that are one step away from going to the local thrift store, fill them with various necessities - and a Christmas present, and make them available for women in need.

Baldwin, who with her husband spends Decembers and Januarys in Rimrock, first heard of this project north of the border.

The mission, called Purses of Hope, was started by three friends who wanted to help women at a time that can be either full or warmth or of loneliness.

"I don't know these women at all," Baldwin said. "I am just paying it forward and doing it in Arizona."

Baldwin, grateful for the warmth she has received in her family's Arizona home, decided that to really make the family's time down south more like being at home, they needed to not just receive warmth but to give it. The Baldwins considered donating their time at some of the area's charitable organizations, but collecting the bags for ladies, they decided, was the best way to help.

A member of Winnipeg's 100 Women Who Care, as well as the Winnipeg Humane Society, Baldwin says she hopes to gather at least 50 purses for distribution before Christmas. Anyone who wants to participate can bring a purse filled with everyday essentials for women - mitts, socks, toothbrush, Band-Aids, nail clippers, sanitary products, etc. and drop the purse off at either Jim's Trading Post in McGuireville or Verde Valley Oil Traders in Old Town Cottonwood.

In not much more than a week, our friend from up north has collected more than a dozen purses, with two organizations who wish to be unrecognized each asking for 25 purses to distribute. Baldwin has also set up a Facebook page,, also to seek out participants.

With a little creativity - and a big heart, a winter resident of the Verde Valley has found a way to say Merry Christmas to a few dozen women who maybe wouldn't otherwise have had much to be thankful for.

source :

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