Handbags galore donated to Love Grace appeal


Love Grace donations were received by Mid-South Island Women’s Refuge and Family Services Refuge...
Love Grace donations were received by Mid-South Island Women’s Refuge and Family Services Refuge co-manager Tepora Whaturia (left) from appeal organiser Eliza Waszczak. Photo: Supplied
Cantabrians have donated handbags of all shapes, colours and sizes to the Love Grace appeal.

Beauty Worx Day and Medi Spa owner Eliza Waszczak, this year’s Mid Canterbury appeal organiser, said she was thrilled with the 126 bags donated from the area.

It had been a lot of work, but worth every moment, she said.

"I will 100 per cent be doing it again.

"The Beauty Worx staff have been incredibly helpful at being involved.

"Also, my children and husband have been the best helpers, cleaning and checking each bag has the correct items and then packing and unloading the car.

"Involving the family was wonderful."

Love Grace is an international domestic violence appeal held in memory of Grace Millane.

The 21-year old United Kingdom resident was strangled to death by her Tinder date while on holiday in Auckland in 2018.

The annual appeal began in New Zealand in 2020.

Grace had a love of handbags so in her memory handbags containing items, such as toiletries, are collected in many countries to be given to women who have experienced domestic violence.

The donations have now been passed on to Mid-South Island Women's Refuge and Family Services to give to their clients from across Mid and South Canterbury.

Refuge co-manager Tepora Whaturia said the bags go out faster than they come in.

"The women are in awe that someone who doesn’t know them was thinking about them," Whaturia said.

National organiser of the appeal, Kylie Ann Kearney, said in 2020 the national collection from the seven locations set up around New Zealand reaped in 1000 bags.

The most collected so far over the four years the appeal had been operating was 1800.

This year’s target was 1500. There were 66 official drop-off points around New Zealand.

"We collected 5269 bags nationwide. The appeal this year has been way more successful than I could have dreamed of," Kearney said.

"For some women the handbag they are given is the only handbag they have ever owned."

So far the Love Grace appeal has supported more than 15,600 domestic abuse victims worldwide.

Waszczak said: "I am very thankful to the community for gifting the handbags and their contents. The receivers will love them."

-By Dellwyn Moylan