Local businesswoman, Dannella Burnette, spreads “sisterly love” this holiday season by offering encouragement in a bag to women at a crossroads in life. Burnette, who owns both Oakwood Occasions, an event planning business, and Lanier Tent Rental, is familiar with the struggles that women go through during life-changing transitions. Having been sober for 18 years, she remembers the challenges that accompany addiction and finds it easy to place herself in their situation.

Now married with children and in charge of two successful companies, she made a plan to assist the women who have found themselves in challenging circumstances similar to those from her past. Thus, Project RePurse was born with the intent to share her many blessings with others. Burnette models the ideal that “to whom much is given, much is required.”  She believes that just because a woman may be going through a tough time of transition on her life journey doesn’t mean she can’t feel fabulous along the way. 

Project RePurse, collects “gently loved” handbags filled with toiletries, snacks, notepads, pens and hygiene items for women fighting through hard times. Many of these women are working to better themselves despite homelessness, addiction, abuse or other traumatic life events. They deserve to feel the love they most likely aren’t giving themselves, and Project RePurse intends to let them know they are worthy and supported. “This program provides a small way to give back to some women who need to know they’re not at the end of a story but at the beginning of a new one,” Burnett shares. “The women we reach have names and faces; they are real people with real situations. They are mothers, daughters, wives, and maybe even future CEOs ready to turn their lives around. It’s important for them to know that someone cares about them and believes in them.”

Over the past three years, Project RePurse has seen incredible success. Local donations from churches and other supportive women have bolstered community companionship during the holiday season. In Project Repurse’s first year, approximately 50 bags were donated, containing toiletries and personal hand-written notes. Today, there have been a total of 1,200 purses donated in the past three years, and an estimated 300 purses will be given during this Christmas season alone. The handbags have been delivered to shelters, halfway houses, and recovery homes throughout Hall and Gwinnett Counties in an effort to encourage hope and change in the lives of women in need of love and support.

For more information on Project RePurse visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/category/Charity-Organization/Project-RePurse-Serving-women-in-transition-117902716276700
(Project RePurse now has an active Facebook account where pictures and stories can be shared and circulated. Click here for more information!)

By: Regan Saunders

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