Purse-onal Relief

“What would I do without my purse?” thought Gloria Green, member of Fallen Timbers Community (Alliance) Church, Toledo, Ohio, as she reached for her handbag. In that moment, a new ministry was born. “So many women lost everything they own because of Hurricane Katrina,” says Green, “including their purses.”  
     A woman’s purse is an extension of herself. It is the last item she grabs before leaving her home. Precious cargo is carried in it—from money to family photos, from a favorite lipstick to her checkbook and more. Green went to her closet, found three unused purses, and prayed that the Lord would show her what needs could be met through handbags. In each new one, she put a Bible, pen, and notepad, Kleenex, soap, and more personal items. Green included a handwritten note in each purse.  
     Green’s ministry reaches across denominational lines. “This was not just a C&MA effort,” says Green. “Other local churches got involved.” Nonbelievers wanted to contribute as well. “Because it is something so personal, so familiar, it has been easy for them to participate.” As Alliance women networked with other congregations, the ministry picked up momentum, and purses poured in “by the arms full,” says Green.  
     Green and a few volunteers pray over each purse donated, trusting the Lord to fill them with the perfect items for specific women in need of encouragement and hope. To date, nearly 450 purses have been distributed to hurricane victims in the Gulf Coast, including Waveland, Mississippi, where Don Young, pastor of Genesis (Alliance) Church in Foley, Alabama, has spearheaded long-term relief efforts to help 7,000 residents rebuild their lives. 
     Green sent a few cameras along with the shipments and requested that pictures be taken of women as they opened their purses. “It was a blessing to know that a tube of lipstick or some other personal item could mean so much,” says Green. She was told that one woman cried as she looked through her new handbag and said that the demonstration of loving care gave her hope to “continue on in life.”  
     “Just as the purses come to me empty and weathered and are filled with important things such as God’s Word,” Green says, “we come to the feet of Jesus, empty and worn, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. He gently fills us with His love and His Spirit and gifts and talents for a lifetime. Likewise, these purses are much more than the material they are made of. They are windows of opportunity to show God’s love.” 


Get Involved...


We cannot “Live the Call Together” unless prayer is central to all we do.
Pray with us »


Is God calling you to service? We’re here to help you connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Serve with The Alliance »


Help build Christ’s Church by supporting the ministry and workers of The Alliance.
Give today »