Centura College students pack ‘Power Purses’ to help domestic violence survivors


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Women tend to carry a plethora of items in their purse.

This week, students in the medical assistant program at Centura College in Virginia Beach packed “Power Purses” to give strength and hope to survivors of domestic violence.

Nearly 1,000 purses in all colors and patterns were filled to the brim with everything from toothpaste and tissues to hairbrushes and hand sanitizer. They had feminine hygiene products, shampoo, lotion, and bus passes.

“We decided what better way to make them feel better than by handing them a purse stuffed with things to make them feel like its gonna be OK,” said Centura Medical Assistant Coordinator Lori Bedford.

The pandemic has presented challenges for the shelter. The number of women seeking help has skyrocketed since the first lockdown, and due to social distancing, they’ve had to pay for many hotel rooms.

HER Shelter Volunteer Coordinator Summer Rivenbark said the donations have been incredibly helpful.

“It’s just a tremendous help because not only are they grateful for the products themselves, they are grateful for the fact that someone actually cares about their situation and cares about their overcoming,” Rivenbark said.

The group from Centura collected about a hundred purses — and all of the items you see in them — as part of the shelter’s Mardi Bras donation drive.

The Mardi Bras donation drive ended on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 16, but if you would still like to help the HER Shelter click here. HER Shelter and other local domestic violence shelters still need donations.

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