Skip directly to content

On The Job In Los Alamos: Handbags Of Hope Founder And Volunteers

on April 12, 2019 - 6:51am

On the job in Los Alamos Thursday evening are Handbags of Hope volunteers from left, Joyce Romero, LeAnne Parsons, Katy Korkos, Saree Clark and 5-yr-old Makiah Clark. Photo by Jenn Bartram/                              


Handbags of Hope is a community collaborative effort in Los Alamos founded by LeAnne Parsons of Legacy Now Lived.

Parsons is a professional life/leadership coach serving individuals, groups and organizations in Los Alamos and beyond. She said she is excited to partner with passionate and powerful women who strive to give love and support to women seeking safety, support and shelter by delivering handbags filled with toiletries and a handwritten message of hope to local shelters.

The women they reach may be affected by domestic abuse/violence, homelessness, poverty, substance abuse and other traumatic situations.

One in three women have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. These women often flee their homes with no belongings and are not only in need of various personal hygiene products but of something that can empower them and remind them of their resilience when they arrive at a shelter.

“Many wonderful and generous women joined together Thursday night in hope,”  Parsons said. “Together we packed to the brim, 45 purses! My hope is that the handbags and purses will be handed to these women upon their arrival to offer them the basic tools they need. Our goal for this first handbag drive is 100 purses donated, packed and delivered in one month's time. We can do it Los Alamos!”

Parsons held her first purse drive in 2015 expecting to receive only a few purses, but to her surprise ended up with 25 purses and more than 200 pair of socks. This first effort was delivered to Joy Junction in Albuquerque. After seeing the impact those purses made on the shelter, she knew she would do it again.

Many women who seek help at these shelters have completely lost touch with their personal feminine beauty and power. These handbags have the power to change a woman’s life. Imagine being in a crisis situation, arriving at a shelter, and being offered not only a handbag filled with toiletries and beauty products, but also with a note from a woman you don’t even know telling you that it will all be okay. The note is an opportunity to personalize the experience, woman to woman.

Parsons explained that her mission with this project is not only to give love and support to women in need but also to offer empowerment, inspiration and hope for the women of Los Alamos who donate to them.

“By donating a purse filled with female toiletries, hygiene and beauty products, I hope to empower another woman, igniting her passion to serve, giving her a sense of purpose, and encouraging her to live beyond what she thought possible,” she said.

Parsons is partnering with projectY to collect all donations, 1 purse donation = 2 women’s lives changed.

“We will be collecting handbags as well as the items to fill them throughout the month of April. All donations can be dropped off 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Los Alamos at projectY in Central Park Square,” she said. “We hope to have another packing party in the weeks to come.” 

Parsons and her team with Handbags of Hope will deliver each purse donation received to various local women’s shelters the first week of May.