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Local Heart-filled Handbags initiative a heartfelt success story (2 photos)

Planet Bean locations were overflowing with donated bags and it will now be an annual event

After seeing much success and support from the community, Heartfilled Handbags will now be an annual event.

The campaign aimed to empower women in the Women in Crisis shelters by giving them brand new handbags filled with self-care items and a note of encouragement inside for Valentines Day week.

Although the creator of the initiative, Shawna MacCallum, hoped for success, she did not expect the campaign to snowball the way it did.

Prior to the donations, MacCallum posted a video to her Heartfilled Handbags Facebook page of herself putting together a bag to donate to any Planet Bean location, an official partner in this initiative to give an example of how to put a bag together.

Two weeks later, she posted pictures on the campaigns Facebook page of the bins in the Planet Bean locations overflowing with donated bags.

“It was really inspiring. I set out to say I want to get 15 bags because at that time I knew there were 15 women in Marianne's Place. And I got 50,” said MacCallum.

MacCallum says many people took the time to pick and choose items that they would want for themselves to put in the bag.

“I went with my daughter and we picked out things and I heard stories of other women going and picking things with their younger daughters,” said MacCallum.

MacCallum says she's been pleased to see the outcome of the campaign's ability to support women.

“It’s about lifting other women up and letting them know that their situation is not permanent and they are able to accomplish great things," said MacCallum.

“We're definitely going to do this annually.”