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2021 Handbags for Hope campaign to reach at-risk moms-to-be

The Texas Advocacy Project is asking for donations of new handbags and diaper bags from the community.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: The related video is from Handbags for Hope's 2020 campaign.

The Texas Advocacy Project (TAP) and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) are asking for donations of new handbags and diaper bags as part of the 2021 Handbags for Hope campaign.

The bags will be distributed to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, with each one fitted with:

  • A discreet tag that lists TAP’s toll-free legal line 800-374-HOPE
  • Safety planning information
  • Allstate Foundation’s Financial Empowerment Planning Guide

For the first time in 2019, bags were distributed to hospitals and made available to rape survivors.

“After a survivor goes through a rape exam they often have to leave behind clothing and belongings, an extremely dehumanizing experience,” TAP and TCSO said in a release. “Leaving the hospital with your belongings in a new bag versus a plastic bag, not only gives some dignity back, it also gives hope through the agency’s free services.”

This year, TAP will be collecting and providing diaper bags to new parents and caregivers as part of the campaign. The diaper bags will contain the same legal toolkits and will be distributed to health care partners for their patients.

TAP hopes the diaper bags will reach at-risk moms-to-be. It said nearly 20% of women experience violence during pregnancy, with pregnant adolescents and woman with unintended pregnancies most at risk.

“When victims call our legal line it is often the first time they have ever spoken with an attorney to learn that they have rights and that they can get protection and safety,” said TAP CEO Heather Bellino. “It is a life-altering moment. Handbags for Hope arms them with one of the strongest tools to break the cycle of violence – access to legal services.”

Donations will be accepted through April 9. A list of donation sites can be found at http://www.texasadvocacyproject.org/handbags-hope.

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