Brittany Harrison

Brittany Harrison

Generosity can fit in a purse

Women fill 80 purses with basic essentials and donate them to the Samaritan House Emergency Women’s Shelter.

A few weeks ago, Ashlee Cosman was scrolling through Facebook when she a saw a photo that showed a lady giving a purse to a homeless woman.

“She had filled a purse with basic everyday needs and gave it to a homeless woman,” Cosman said.

That’s when Cosman decided she needed to do something for her community. She decided to fill 20 purses with basic essentials such as tooth brushes, deodorant and female hygiene products and donate them to the Samaritan House Emergency Women’s Shelter, a Nanaimo-based organization that offers housing options for women.

Shortly after announcing her intentions on Facebook, Brittany Harrison, an old friend from high school reached out to Cosman.

“I saw her post and I made a comment,” Harrison said. “Then I shared the post and then we both kind of got our friends together.”

Harrison, who happens to be involved with Brownies in Nanaimo, decided to join in Cosman’s philanthropic adventure. Harrison and the Brownies managed to collect an additional 40 purses through donations.

The duo have also encouraged others to follow in their footsteps and created a hastag, #fillabag, which according to Cosman has caught on.

By the time all was said and done, Cosman – who managed to collect 40 purses herself – and Harrison and the Brownies donated a total of 80 pursues to the Samaritan House last month.

“I think the coolest feeling was pulling up. We needed two vehicles and there were three of us girls,” Cosman said. “There were a few women outside and the look on their faces as soon as they could see the purses [was] actual excitement for something that, really, all of us had laying in our closet.”

Cosman and Harrison plan to fill purses again next year. Harrison said this year’s campaign did more than help people in need.

“It brought a lot of people in the community together, and for us, some old friendships,” Harrison said.