Princess and the Purse helps single moms in NL

‘For some people, that could be the difference from having nothing at Christmas’

Victoria Battcock

Hundreds of gently used purses will be distributed to the homes of single moms across the province this holiday season.

The initiative, Princess and the Purse, was brought to the province a few years ago. It was started in Moncton by one of Renée Druggett friends. She then decided to share it with people in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The idea is to fill gently used purses and bags with toiletries and items that women with a limited budget would not buy for themselves – the items mothers say they can do without.

The purse collecting and distributing was successful, but Druggett had to move away. Her friend Kelly Carew contemplated taking over.

ladies holding gift bags
Girl guides in Ferryland are excited with the response to their initiative to take part in Princess and the Purse. The group got together to bag their donations before dropping them off. Victoria Battcock/Kicker

“I supported Renee with my own donation last year,” said Carew. “It really touched me.”

Space was the main concern as to whether she should take it over or not.

“A person who happened to be working in the same building as me reached out to Renée and offered up some space,” Carew said.

Druggett did all of the delivering and collecting herself when it first got going. She is also a single parent.

Carew says she knows Christmas is a difficult time for a lot of people. Seeing her friend take on such a high-impact project was eye-opening.

“I am here to help in a different way from last year,” said Carew. “Knowing what I know now from last Christmas and to not have this available for people? It is too important to let go.”

The Princess and the Purse Facebook page has gotten a lot of traffic since Carew announced she would be taking over. Groups, churches, hospitals and shelters from all across the province have been contacting Carew to send donations and help distribute them.

Katherine Kavanagh’s family in Cape Broyle are collecting on behalf of her Girl Guide group. When Katherine came home and told her mom she needed to start collecting, they looked for donations and started filling the purses right away.

“I am doing whatever I need to do. We just want purses.”

“We thought it was such a beneficial idea to help women who are struggling at this time,” said Terri-Lynn Kavanagh, Katherine’s mother.

Kavanagh says it is something different that supports a group of people that are sometimes forgotten this time of year.

“We now have 16 purses filled and more to pick up,” Kavanagh said.

Carew says she knows that it will be a lot of work.

“I am doing whatever I need to do,” she said. “We just want purses.”

If people do not want to donate a purse or do not have one to donate, says Carew, they can donate small value gift cards and those can be stuffed in the purse.

Someday Carew would like to see something done for single fathers. A wallet full of gift cards is her first idea.

“For some people, that could be the difference [of] having nothing at Christmas,” said Carew.

Carew looks forward to meeting new people and hearing the stories of everyone these purses will help.

Items can be dropped off  9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday at the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra Office, 3rd floor north Arts and Culture Centre, 95 Allandale Road, St. John’s, NL.


  1. Is it only for single moms? There are alot of low income 2 parent homes that a Mom who otherwise would never buy for herself would love this. Low income moms usually don’t get anything.

  2. Hi there,

    It initially started with single moms as the main focus. Now, according to information gathered from the Facebook page, it is whoever reaches out or whoever gets their name put forward that will receive one of the purses. This could be low-income, someone who is having a hard time or anyone needing a little extra love at this time of year.

    More information can be found on their Facebook Page:

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