ST. AUGUSTINE, FL — “Domestic violence occurs everywhere, at all economic levels, and takes many forms,” says Cathlene Miner, Self-perception Coach and Founder of Hopefull Handbags, Inc., a nonprofit organization that aims to help victims of domestic violence.
In fact, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. In one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men a year!
Hopefull Handbags delivers gently-used handbags full of essentials, notes of encouragement, and journals to survivors at area shelters.
“Survivors need support that provides them hope for the future. We aim to deliver HOPE, one handbag at a time,” Cathlene explains.
Hopefull Handbags began its work by coordinating community donations of once-loved, beautiful handbags — filling them with necessities, and delivering them to domestic violence survivors residing in abuse shelters or participating in other service programs.
This work has grown to include supporting “Popup Shelters” in hotels and other temporary housing for when shelters fill up, creating Safe Spots at drop off locations, providing survivors with information on resources, and partnering with area businesses and service providers to ensure overall care. This effort began in St. Johns County (Florida) and has since grown to include Duval and Putnam Counties.
Since 2017, Hopefull Handbags has distributed more than 3,000 handbags to survivors in northeast Florida, grown to include five affiliates on four continents, provided “popup shelters” for survivors when shelters are full, and provided numerous self-perception workshops to improve self-esteem of survivors, and as a preventative step, these workshops are also offered to teens.
In an effort to help raise awareness for the nonprofit organization, St. Augustine musician and Hopefull Handbags Board Member Jeanetta Salyer has partnered with The Fishtank Recording Studio owners Lucio & Savannah Rubino to write an original theme song. Her band, Ramona + The Riot, recently recorded “Hey Sister!” The song will be released on December 18, 2020.
The unity anthem will be represented by Trinidad competitors in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, using the song during their appearances and promotions to raise awareness about domestic violence issues and the work of Hopefull Handbags.
“With a hopeful message and a hard-hitting inspirational sound, Ramona + the Riot fills the air with positive outreach for domestic abuse survivors,” Jeanetta says. “ ‘Hey Sister!’ is a mighty song, with a message aimed at female empowerment and unity. Partnering with Hopefull Handbags and empowerment speaker Cathlene Miner, the song is a resounding tune for the message of the nonprofit’s mission.”
Ramona + The Riot is known for their social activism and was recently featured on NPR with their most current single, “Blood and Sand.” Just prior to Covid-19, the band performed for the first-ever International Nelson Mandela Day at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.
Support for Hopefull Handbags includes private and personal donations and grants, along with partnerships with local and regional businesses such as Wild Heart Boutique at 137 King Street in St. Augustine, which is hosting “Stocking Stuffer Sundays” to benefit the nonprofit.
Recent Hopefull Handbags events include a fundraiser at The Spice & Tea Exchange of St. Augustine, which allowed safe holiday shopping during the pandemic, and a gift box for guests, with the event fee going to the nonprofit. A Hopefull Handbags Women’s Expo was held in early 2020 just before the covid-19 outbreak, and a 2021 Women’s Expo is in the planning stages in St. Augustine, Florida.
To learn more, visit www.hopefullhandbags.org
THE DETAILS: Hopefull Handbags, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to raise awareness about domestic violence and to provide HOPE, help, and support to survivors. Based in St. Johns County, Florida, Hopefull Handbags, Inc. provides support and hope to survivors of domestic violence and works to prevent and raise awareness of the issue locally, nationally and globally. Please visit www.hopefullhandbags.org for more information. Social media channels: https://www.facebook.com/HopefullHandbags/; https://www.instagram.com/hopefull_handbags_global; https://twitter.com/HopefullHandbag.