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Community Outreach in Hickory | Handlez of Home – Focusing on Women in Need

Melissa Malbon has been a Customer Service Representative at Marcal Hickory since 2017. Beginning in 2019, she noticed the number of women living in poverty in the area, and a desire began in her heart to help them. These women didn’t have the items they needed to simply be clean and to feel like a woman anymore. They felt no self-worth in their circumstances, and Melissa wanted to change that.

It wasn’t until 2022 that she shared her idea with others and started receiving donations of new or gently used purses and travel-size toiletry items to fill them. And so began Handlez Of Hope, a community outreach to women in need, with the first purse given out in Nov. 2022.

The donations of purses and toiletry items have come from her family, friends and church thus far. Items added to the purses include hand sanitizer, lotion, shampoo/conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, lady’s essentials, body and face wipes, soap, hairbrush, lip balm, an expanding washcloth, and deodorant. During the winter months, she will include gloves, a hat, and a scarf, and additional facial spray through the hot summer months. She also adds a bracelet and card of encouragement with a picture of a sunflower on it. The sunflower always follows the sun and represents happiness and strength.

In addition to what she’s personally given out, she donated purses to the Salvation Army and Safe Harbor (a recovery home for women), and donated toiletry items to the local Women’s Resource Center. They have given out 75 purses so far.

In Melissa’s words, “These items seem small to those who have access and money to purchase all they need, but to someone who can’t, it’s huge to be able to wash your face and brush your teeth, to have lip balm for dry lips, to brush your hair. A woman feels like a woman when she has a purse and can groom and take care of herself. She’s no longer hopeless. I want to show them that they matter and are loved. The hope is that this could help that lady turn her life around by finding lost confidence and possibly pushing ahead to better things than where she is.”

Handlez Of Hope is always accepting donations of new or gently used purses, gloves, scarves, hats, toiletry items, or donations to purchase them.