Inspirational Hearts owner Judy Porter has funds for Stedman Community Hospice’s Redefining Hope campaign in the bag.
The handbag that is.
Porter will host the inaugural Handbags for Hospice event to raise funds for Hankinson House, a new 25,000 square-foot, 10-bed residential hospice. Money raised will also help with dementia care enhancements for St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre’s long-term care department.
With a goal of raising $10,000, Porter - who's Charing Cross Street store helps support people with cancer - turned to members of her cancer support group to help with organizing the event and finding sponsors.
“I thought, not only will this be great for the hospice, but this will be great for my support group because it will give everybody a new focus,” she said.
But Porter knew she couldn’t afford down payments for the event out of her own pocket, so she came up with a plan to put old purses to good use.
“I started saying to people ‘when you do your spring cleaning and you go through your clothes and handbags, please hang on to all your gently used handbags and bring them to me at the store,’” Porter said.
Her request was met by an overwhelming response of purse donations that were sold at the store for discounted prices.
“I told people, anything that I don’t use I will send to Nova Vita. I’ve also raised $1,200 selling used purses,” Porter said. “Women are getting nice purses at a great deal knowing that it is going to a great cause. It’s a win-win all around.”
People are welcome to drop used purses off to Inspirational Hearts until the end of September.
Porter's focus will then shift to final preparations for the Oct. 17 Handbags for Hospice event.
Dubbed by Porter as a “girl’s night out,” the event is expected to be a fun-filled, fast-paced extravaganza of live and silent auctions, musical entertainment and decadent desserts.
The live auction will see women bidding on designer handbags like Coach and Michael Kors with the possibility of a $10,000 purse being put on the auction block. Several sponsors have come forward to make the event a reality.
“I am overwhelmed at how well this came together and how amazing Brantford businesses have been in supporting it,” Porter said. “I think it is because it is for such a great cause and with (the hospice) putting an addition on, everybody is so willing to help with that.”
Porter has seen how beneficial the Stedman Community Hospice has been to members of her cancer support group.
“So many of the ladies in my support group use the day program,” she said. “When they use the day program they are with other people that are living with a terminal illness. They have spa days for them and they have craft days. It’s not a sad place.”
More people are living with cancer longer, thanks in part to the many wonderful programs available to them and their families, Porter added.
“I believe in the power of positive thinking,” she said. “It’s about being surrounded by other people and keeping a positive attitude and I think the hospice does that for people.”
Handbags for Hospice will feature a Mardi Gras theme and will be held at the Hellenic Hall beginning at 7 p.m.
Entertainment will be provided by Big Rude Jake.
Tickets are available at Scotia Bank on Lynden Road. The bank will match funds raised from every ticket sold up to $5,000. When the tickets have sold out, a limited amount will be available at Inspirational Hearts.