For most women, having a new designer handbag is a luxury. But for three women at Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, it's a gift that is more than just a stylish accessory.
And here's why.
Jennifer Dellasantina was addicted to drugs and living in a van outside her drug dealer's house. Her family had abandoned her based on the choices she made. She lost custody of two of her children and was about to lose her two-year-old son.
Regina Brown stole to fuel her addiction to drugs and alcohol. She says she stole to survive and lying was a way of life.
And Stormy Curtis grew up with a drug-addicted mother, and she ended up homeless or living in dirty squat houses. She used gambling, alcohol, drugs and men to fill a void. She lost custody of all three of her children and thought she was worthless.
All three women ended up at Hope Place, the women's shelter at Seattle's Union Gospel Mission. Over the past year in recovery and treatment, they slowly started to change their lives. Their desperation was slowly replaced with hope and the belief that good things can happen to them.
But when Joy Egbegimba walked into Hope Place with three brand new purses just for them, they still couldn't believe it.
Egbegimba is the designer behind Nuciano Handbags. An accountant by day, Egbegimba has always loved fashion and design and started the business to provide luxury handbags at an affordable price.
"They are good leather handbags; they are made with top grain leather. For me, if I can't carry it, I can't make it," said Egbegimba.
Part of her passion in life is to empower women and give back, so she chose to donate the purses to Union Gospel Mission, just in time for Mother's Day.
"I feel like I've been given so much, my way to contribute and be a part of that blessing and that journey in life is to give back," explains Egbegimba.
For Stormy Curtis, the purse represented a new life. No longer is she carrying a bag as a necessity to survive.
"Going from having absolutely nothing except for the clothes on my back and a ripped up backpack from the Goodwill to this is awesome," said Curtis.
Regina Brown flashed a big smile as she held the purse that she didn't have to steal.
"Now that I'm on a whole other level of life, receiving a handbag is like I can have something and it's not for a bad cause," said Brown.
And Jennifer Dellasantina says she'll be bringing that new purse with her to church.
"I've worked hard to be where I'm at. I think I deserve it," said Dellasantina.
Egbegimba says the real gift is seeing the reaction of the women and hearing their stories.
"It really touched my heart. I didn't know the magnitude of what this is going to be or what this is going to bring to their lives."
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