CENTERVILLE -- Members of Centerville United Methodist Church's United Methodist Women are asking for Middle Georgia's old purses.
They'd like to collect them, fill them with women's personal items and give them away to women in need.
"United Methodist Women's focus is on women and children, so this fits right in with what we do," said Carrie Dominy, leader of the project. "We're collecting the purses now and starting to fill them to give away later in the year. We'll give them to women who don't have the money to buy for themselves or who spend what money they do have on their children and family. So often, women put themselves last as far as spending goes and never get around to getting a new purse or some of these items."
Dominy said the group is looking for purses in good condition. They're also accepting donations of items to go in them. She said the items may come already in the purses or separately. She said her group will supply items if someone doesn't want to donate the personal products as well.
"We're especially looking for toiletries, feminine products and beauty products to go in the purses -- and pretty much anything a woman would keep in her purse," Dominy said.
The group has a long list of donation possibilities. A sampling includes essentials such as bar soap, toothpaste and tooth brushes, hair brushes and combs, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, nail files, a pen and notepad, cotton swabs, hair clips, sanitizer, packs of feminine products and more.
Dominy said added optional items might include zippered makeup bags with lipstick, nail polish, eye shadow, moisturizer and similar items.
She said donations can be dropped off at barrels located near the church's office and sanctuary lobby. She said most United Methodist groups in Warner Robins, Bonaire and Byron are also helping with the project and items can be left at those churches as well.
More information about the project and drop-off points is available by calling Dominy at 478-396-2201.
Dominy said the filled purses will be given to women at various area shelters, through other agency contacts and through the United Methodist Women finding out about women in need by word of mouth. She said she invited calls informing her of women in need.
"When we get them ready, purses will also be available in connection with our church's food pantry and mission closet," Dominy said. "The food pantry is open Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and our mission (clothes) closet is open two days a week, Tuesdays from 9 to 1 and Wednesday's from 9 to noon. We're working on collecting and filling the purses now and will probably start giving them away in May."
"I hear a lot of people say, 'Oh, I just cleaned out my closet. I wish I had all those purses I threw away,' '' Dominy said. "But it doesn't take long for stuff to pile up again. We just ask women to look and see what they can do. We've got a lot of purses and items coming in already but hope to collect a whole lot more in the next few months."
Centerville United Methodist's pastor, the Rev. Stephen Grantham, is encouraging the community's involvement in the effort.
"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for folks to be in ministry helping in a very low-cost way," he said. "This provides a way to recycle items no longer needed or used to benefit someone else. Carrie is good at coming up with these kinds of projects, she's a real blessing to the church and to others. I hope the whole community joins us in helping women in this way."
Dominy, a retired nurse and member of the church for 35 years, said there are three United Methodist Women's circles at the church, each with about 20 to 30 members.
"This isn't required at all, but I noticed two of the smaller bags that were donated had little bracelets in them," she said. "That's not on our list but I thought it was very sweet, a very personal thing to do."
Contact writer Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Address: 600 N. Houston Lake Blvd, Centerville
Phone: (478) 953-3090
Leadership: Carrie Dominy