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H-F students collecting purses for a purpose

H-F High freshmen, from left, Xiiyaire Pullium, Sophia Hall and Madyson Keelen with some of the dozens of purses they’ve collected for Purse for a Purpose. (Provided photo)

Every woman has her own style. A purse is one of the outward signs that says a lot about you.

Purses, large and small and for all different purposes, carry everything from a phone, Kleenex, a scarf or gloves, keys, credit cards, a comb and lipstick, even a treat for a child.

Three Homewood-Flossmoor High School students have decided to give away purses to women without. About six weeks ago, Madyson Keelen, Sophia Hall and Xiiyaire Pullium had an idea to make a purse the means to support women in need. They organized Purse for a Purpose with the intent to collect purses and fill them with toiletries for distribution around Thanksgiving.

The 14-year-olds have been using social media to spread the word. Madyson is doing Instagram, Xiiyaire handles TikTok and Sophia is making informational flyers. They also have a GoFundMe account to raise money for the toiletries. So far, they are about halfway to their $1,000 goal.

Teachers and staff at H-F have been giving the girls their cast-off purses, and the three have been walking their neighborhoods in Flossmoor and Chicago Heights distributing flyers to get attention for the Purse for a Purpose project. They will be donating the purses to domestic violence shelters and other helping agencies, such as Roseland Christian Ministries.

The three freshmen keep busy schedules. Sophia is a ballet and jazz student at American Dance Center. Xiiyaire is a member of the H-F choir, WHFH Radio and H-F Steppers, and Madyson is a member of H-F’s Zoobots Club, H-F choir and H-F Steppers.

With their busy schedules, the Purse for a Purpose project gets their attention on the weekends, but they do keep in touch during the week sharing updates through text messages.

The three have been friends since preschool, and their joy in working on the Purse for a Purpose project is infectious.

“It just gives us a really nice feeling to know that we’re helping other people that really need it,” Xiiyaire said.

Sophia recalls scanning through TikTok and finding a clip about a pregnant woman who was so appreciative for the helping hand she received from a stranger. She remembers thinking: “Wow, that could be us. We could make someone’s day.”

Madyson said the trio is working on inspirational messages to be included in each purse. They need to be “bright and happy” thoughts to help encourage women that they can make a change in their lives.

The drive is on to collect as many purses and donations as possible. To reach the Purse for a Purpose team email [email protected] through Instagram @pursefora_purpose or make a monetary donation at GoFundMe.

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