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Love Grace appeal is drawing to a close

Real estate agents Carolyn Collier and Channyn Titter are organising this year’s Love Grace domestic violence appeal in Wairarapa.

Love Grace is an international initiative in the name of Grace Millane, who was killed in an Auckland hotel room in 2018 by a man she met on a dating app, and involves donating handbags, which Millane reportedly had an affinity for.

In Wairarapa, these donations should go to the Harcourts Masterton office at 127 Queen St.

“We started on February 14, and the campaign will finish on March 8,” Collier said.

“The idea is you find an old handbag and bring it down to the Harcourts office in Masterton; we then fill it with essentials like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and shower gel before sending it to the Women’s Refuge.

“If you have some basic essentials and other goodies, put them in by all means, but even if you just have a bag, that’s cool.”

The appeal’s aim is to make the women receiving the donated handbags feel special after leaving toxic and violent situations.

As well as filling handbags with essentials, Collier said she has also put together some “luxury” versions.

“I did one with a little bit of perfume and mascara. We are getting a lot of things like facecloths, hairbrushes, and lip balm,” she said.

“It’s just anything to make these women feel special again.”

She said that even if people don’t have old handbags to donate, they can buy reasonably priced ones at places like The Warehouse.

Being involved in the appeal is very rewarding, Collier said – “It’s filling our daily cup, put it that way.”

Wairarapa Women’s Refuge is very appreciative of the Love Grace donations, a spokesperson said.

“We are looking forward to receiving this gift; we have been lucky to be the recipients of this initiative for a few years.

“The bags are well received by our clients, especially those in our safe house who often come with very little.”

Last year, the centre – which is located at 407 Queen St Masterton and covers the territory from South Wairarapa to Pahiatua – supported 157 women and children, received 556 crisis line calls and processed 422 family harm reports.

It also helps women with seeking legal aid, and dealing with the police, Oranga Tamariki, and Work and Income, and offers education programmes.

If you or someone you know is suffering domestic violence, a 24/7 crisis line is available on 0800 733 843, although if it’s an emergency, 111 should be rung immediately. For general enquiries, call 06 378 2241.

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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