St. Augustine resident Cathlene Miner has a passion for helping others through the message of hope. She is doing just that with Hopefull Handbags, a global nonprofit she founded in 2017 in St. Johns County to help survivors of domestic abuse. She was inspired to start the organization after watching her grandmother endure domestic abuse for many years.
“I feel blessed in that my mom and dad broke that cycle and my sister and I had a great, healthy upbringing. There have been many times in my life where that very hope changed my life,” Cathlene explained. “At Hopefull Handbags, we take donated, once-loved handbags, and fill them with necessities and other heartfelt items to make women feel amazing. We are here to give hope to the survivors of domestic violence and other detrimental situations.”
Hopefull Handbags keeps all financial and physical donations in the community where the donations originate, but some communities cannot sustain the need. The organization is seeking grants and other donation sources to help fill the gap. Recent affiliate locations have expanded to the Caribbean and Canada.
One new project for the organization includes an intensive residential program in which donors will help build multiple homes in the Caribbean, and locally, to serve as places where survivors of domestic abuse can live while they get back on their feet and “gain momentum that they need to sustain a healthy life.” Cathlene will call this Carolyn’s Haven of Hope, named after her grandmother. Cathlene is currently working on training programs that will incorporate healthy self-perception, self-defense, and self-compassion classes. These programs will be open to local residents with scholarships available for domestic abuse survivors in the community. In addition, the second annual Women’s Expo, hosted by Hopefull Handbags, is in the planning stages for March 2021. Sign up at www.hopefullhandbags.org/exhibitor-form. In addition, Hopefull Handbags will launch its Journal Sponsorship Program in collaboration with Artist Judith Fox-Goldstein. With this program, each purchase includes a journal and a journal donated to a survivor. Proceeds will benefit Hopefull Handbags’ mission.
How can you help? In addition to handbags, items, and monetary donations, the nonprofit offers sponsorships for corporations, groups, and individuals. Find out more at www.hopefullhandbags.org. Photography by Justin Snavely.
Want to know more about Cathlene’s story? Read her St. Augustine Social article here!