Homelessness continues to be big a problem in Toronto. Almost 30 per cent of people living on the streets or in shelters every night in Toronto are women, and many more women – the ‘hidden homeless’ – are staying with friends or family trying to escape domestic violence or other precarious circumstances.
For the second year, Leaside resident (and Leaside Life columnist) Susan Scandiffio has joined forces with Karen Siddiqi to help bring a sense of dignity to vulnerable women by providing the gift of a purse filled with everyday personal essentials. The local midtown group has united with a larger movement started in 2014, known as Fill a Purse for a Sister, whose goal is to collect 12,000 purses.
Locally last year, with the help of a community of volunteers and a couple of special students, Kyra Hillier and Charlotte Tilley, 566 purses were collected and donated to local shelters.
A note received from one of the recipient agencies reminds us of how meaningful the purses are to the women who receive them. “Your kindness and generosity greatly assist the women in alleviating the stresses that come with not having access to the day-to-day necessities that most of us take for granted. Your meaningful donation reminds each woman who uses the services of Sistering that she is celebrated and her life has meaning and value.”
There is still time for our readers to help. Scandiffio will be collecting gently used purses and practical items to fill them until the middle of November. Most needed – shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and tooth brushes, deodorant, lotion and sanitary products. This year the group have outgrown their basements and with a generous offer of free storage from XYZ Storage on Laird, the hope is to surpass last year’s success. Donations can be dropped off at 131 Hanna. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.