The Power of the Purse

Jan 18, 2024 | by Cierra Ivey

In 2017, Rosalind Richmond had an idea that would soon become a popular program for The Center of Hope. She was sorting through her closet and found some purses she would donate. “That’s when it hit me,” says Richmond. “I had this idea of packing it [the purse] with toiletries.”

She went to the store and grabbed wash cloths, soap, nail polish, combs, brushes, journals, pens, and other personal care items for women. She then stuffed her most expensive bag and drove to The Center of Hope. She said, “I was going to walk inside, but then I told myself I was going to give it to the first woman I saw.”

A lady approached Richmond before she reached the door, prompting her to sit on the bench. “She told me her story,” said Richmond. “She was a nurse trying to get back on her feet after losing everything. After we talked, I handed her the purse. She cried, I cried; it was just a moment where I felt everything she was telling me.”

That feeling of pain was not uncommon to Richmond. Her family, at the time, was homeless and staying in hotels.

“My husband and our three children were renting a house,” she says, “the owner lost his job and had to move to another state abruptly. He told us that he had to sell the house, and we would have to leave.” Leaving her family one month to find a new home.

“It was a very humbling experience. It could happen to anyone at any time,” she says.

Before leaving the shelter, Richmond was stopped by several other women.

She said, “They asked me if I had any more bags, and I told them no. But give me some time. I’ll be back with more!”

Since then, Richmond and her volunteer crew return to The Center of Hope around Christmas with hundreds of designer purses, all stuffed with personal care items catered to women. At most, she’s collected almost 700 purses in one year.

“I called on the community,” says Richmond. “I made a flyer saying I was doing a purse drive and put it on social media.”

Richmond says over the years, she’s received toiletry donations from flight attendants and hotels and worked with different stores, barbershops, and restaurants to be collection sites.

“I always tell women, “Don’t donate anything you wouldn’t wear,” she says, “these women are in a shelter, but give them something they can look at and value because they need it.”

As for Richmond and her family, they closed and moved into a house one month after her initial purse donation in 2017. Richmond also started a non-profit organization, Diamond Girl Project, during the pandemic in 2020. For Power of the Purse, she still cares for the ladies, and they look forward to the project every year.

Recent Stories

Get Involved

A gift to The Salvation Army helps someone in your community.

Give Now



Do Good in your community

Find Worship

Join us throughout the week for worship, fellowship, Bible study, meals, community service and fun.