Advocate puts 'love purses' on the shoulders of women trying to rebuild their lives

advocate for women in shelters
Maria Castro of Love Purse Photo credit Maria Castro

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Maria Castro was looking for a way to uplift women during the coronavirus pandemic when a friend from A Safe Haven shelter in Chicago reached out.

“She mentioned to me that she would love to have extra toiletries,” said Castro. “Because of COVID-19, so many more women were looking for shelter.”

But Castro felt a plastic bag of soap, shampoo and other toiletries wasn’t enough and needed a more personal touch.

So, she created Love Purse.

In addition to dozens of essential supplies, the nonprofit collects donated purses and attaches a note of inspiration. These messages include phrases like, “You matter to this world,” or “This too shall pass,” Castro said.

Love Purse has collected more than 1,000 purses since the project first started in March 2021.

The organization donates purses to Metropolitan Family Services DuPage, the Community Crisis Center in Elgin and Mutual Ground in Aurora.

Love Purse is also expanding to other states as well as Mexico and Canada.

Castro tells WBBM Newsradio it’s all about helping women get back on their feet:

“The thing that I want, more than anything, is for the woman on the receiving end to feel the love that comes out of that purse because somebody went and bought everything, wrote that note and gifted it to her without even knowing her.”