Handbags filled with joy

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A lady from Rainham who wanted to make a difference in people’s lives has set up an appeal to fill handbags with toiletries for ladies in refuges and hostels.

Having watched a documentary set in Norway on a lady who filled handbags with toiletries Lorraine Harper decided she would do the same.

“I saw that a lady in Norway was doing this, and I always wanted to do something to help so I decided to set this up here locally.

“I started volunteering with the Salvation Army and worked at a drop in centre they run. I realised that people need help in every aspect of their life. So I decided to start collecting handbags myself and doing something to put a smile on their faces,” she told  The Enquirer.

So Lorraine put an appeal on Facebook for old handbags that she could start to use. She was overwhelmed with the response and from there her charity work has grown.

Lorraine has now filled about 300 bags which she donates to 7charities; the YMCA, Harp in Southend, Friends of Essex, Hestia, Havering Women’s Aid, Salvation Army and Haircuts for the Homeless.

“I fill the bags with all forms of toiletries, from shampoo to body wash, toothpaste, everything a woman might need. Anything that is small and compact goes into the bags. Every little bit helps a woman somewhere out there and I’m so grateful to all the ladies who donate bags and other items to me to help me keep this work going.

“My friend is the CEO at Harp and in awe of all the amazing work she does I equally wanted to do something to help the community out. It’s such a nice feeling when you know you can make a difference in someone’s life and sadly there are more ladies out on our streets now, more than ever,” finished Lorraine.

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