ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. — A Rogers County couple is giving domestic violence survivors a Valentine’s Day gift from the community.
They’ve been collecting donations of purses for women who are escaping abuse. The program is called ‘Purses with a Purpose.’ It’s been running for seven years and they said it’s been growing every year.
Coy Jenkins is a major with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) and has been married to Marti Jenkins for 15 years. This year, they’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with their community.
“Instead of getting something necessarily for each other we wanted to do something for somebody that was struggling in the community,” Coy said.
7 years ago, Coy was called out to help a victim of domestic violence. Marti said it upset him, so she came up with the idea to give purses to women who’ve been left with nothing after escaping abuse.
“All I could think about was my purse, I mean I can’t imagine leaving home without my bag,” Marti also said.
“Coy always takes such great care of me and it just made me sad that there are people out there that don’t have that,” Marti also said.
So, they asked people to give new or gently used handbags and put some essentials, like tissues, hand sanitizer, a pen, a notebook, a hair brush, hair bands, mascara, lip gloss or lip stick, breath mints or chewing gum, and a note of encouragement in them.
In the past seven years, their idea has got more popular.
One of the words of encouragement in a card read, “The strongest action for a woman is to love herself, be herself and shine amongst those who never believed she could.”
The bags have been handed over to SafeNet Services, which gives temporary shelter for victims of domestic abuse in Claremore. They also have an office in Mayes County.
Jody Moore is the executive director of SafeNet Services. She said the women they work with love the purses.
“We had a client that got to pick her purse and she actually hugged it and she was just so excited that she had that,” Moore said.
“It lets them know that the community is out there and they care for them,” Moore also said.
Marti and Coy said they hope the women feel loved and supported.
“If we could put a smile on their face even if it’s just for the day and something they can look back on and realize that people really do care about them,” Marti. said.
The couple said they’re blown away by the donations and are thanking the community and RCSO for their support.
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