Friday, June 4, 2010

Handbags for Hope

Ever since I accepted the postcard, I've been amazed at what has followed. After giving the sermon at church I walked away with over $400. Later that week a check for $1,000 arrived in the mail. There have been on-line donations, additional checks, cash. All without asking for money.

Let me get this out before I go on any further. From the very start I made the commitment to pay for 100% of my own expenses for this trip. Airfare, personal supplies, vaccinations. That means that every penny that people are giving me will be helping the children. When God opens a door...

As most of you know, I've adopted a vegan diet. I'm an animal nut, and it was a natural transition for me. I've done a lot of searching for vegan businesses. One that caught my eye is Susan Nichole. You can find them here: I LOVE their bags. They post sales on Facebook, and many nights I load up a cart with a bag or two. When I get to checkout, a little voice goes off in my head. "Where else could you be using that money, Karen?" I linger a bit longer on the page, then close out without making a purchase.

The other evening I was on Facebook, reading one of their posts. It had pictures of two adorable bags. Wish list bags for me. I'm not sure why, but I decided to post a comment. Here's part of my post: " I keep getting close to buying one then hesitate. Traveling to Haiti this summer. A bag for for the kids. The kids win out. :-)"

What followed is another one of those things that brings me to tears. The company contact me. They want to donate some of their bags to women in Haiti. Not only that, but they are asking their Facebook and Twitter followers to donate bags as well.

Now, you might be wondering about sending super cute vegan handbags to a third world country. After all, many of these people don't know where their next meal will come from. Why handbags? Read on.

Earlier in the day I read an article on CNN about a middle class Haitian woman who lost everything in the quake. Her home, her job, all of her belongings. She was forced to live in one of the tent camps. The article went on to describe how she purchased a handbag - one to store the only personal belongings she had: shampoo, a change of clothes, and two pictures. It is something she could keep with her and hold onto. One last piece of home.

These handbags symbolize hope. And love. They will let the women know they are not forgotten. We care. And we want them to know that.

Some day I'll indulge and buy a bag for myself. For now, I'll take joy in knowing that in August I get to hand them out to very deserving Haitian women. A little bag of hope.


  1. Hi my name is amber. I have plenty of bags I can pass on but they sent vegan hope that's still ok. I'm not sure how to go about sending them and lots of other clothing items out, can u help me?

  2. Amber - we don't have the logistics figured out quite yet. I'll post as soon as we know. As for the clothing, I'll find a way to get them down there.

    Thank you!!

  3. Hello. My name is Emma and I am 16 years old. I started my own charity foundation to help orphans in a tiny rural village in Eguafo, Ghana Africa. I am very inspired by what has happened in your life as far as your mission trip to Haiti goes. It gives me hope. I have not had much luck at all & I have been trying to fund raise and rally support for my charity for a year now. I think everyone should do something to help out someone where ever that may be. I am drawn to AFrica. We have lots of handbags and totes that we'd love to donate to you. Do we ship them to you? My mom & I are vegan too. If you want to, you can check out my blog too. (I'm not asking for anything in return either). My mom & I have had the same feelings about Susan's purses. She loves a few of them, and would love one, but we are selling the belongings we don't really need and are moving into a much smaller place so that we can save money & raise money for my charity. I look forward to helping you... I am very involved in community service, volunteering, and human rights so I just love to help out no matter what - Even if it isn't for my charity. Thanks, Emma Reid :-)

  4. Karen, thanks for sharing this information about Susan Nichole. I can't wait to check out all of her yummy bags! Best of luck to you on the vegan diet. If anyone can do it, you can! <3

  5. Emma -Thanks for your note! You are amazing for taking this on at your age. Your mom must be very proud of you. How do I get a hold of you? I didn't see your email addy on your blog. I've got miles on Delta if you could use them. :-)

    Kim - Thanks for the kind words. It's like all the past years of life were leading up to this. A vegan diet will be perfect for Haiti. Beans and rice are a staple. Lucky I love both!