Harford Family House’s 10th annual Hope in Handbags is this weekend

Harford Family House is holding its 10th annual “Hope in Handbags” Silent Purse Auction and Retail Sale to raise much-needed funds and awareness for Harford County’s families with children experiencing homelessness.

Hope in Handbags is 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Bel Air Armory at 37 N Main St.

Harford Family House is the only organization in Harford County providing transitional housing and case management support for families with children experiencing homelessness and unaccompanied adults ages 18 to 24. Harford Family House has the capacity to serve 28 families at one time. But the need in Harford County, organization officials said, is dire – there are still more than 150 families experiencing homelessness in need of services.

Bargain hunters and handbag enthusiasts are invited to bid on new designer bags and shop a selection of never-used or gently-used bags being sold for a fraction of their retail cost. All items available at Hope in Handbags, presented by Saxon’s Diamond Centers, were donated and/or sponsored by the community, local businesses and government celebrities throughout Harford County.

“The face of homelessness is not just the drug-addicted man in the city,” Robin Tomechko, chief executive of Harford Family House, said. “It is the single mother working two jobs and still struggling to make ends meet. It is the father who, through no fault of his own, had his work hours cut back to the point that he can no longer pay rent and it is the grandmother who suddenly finds herself raising children again.”

Admission for Friday evening is $10, which will provide attendees “first dibs” on more than 1,500 donated purses, including popular brands such as Coach, Michael Kors and Dooney & Bourke. Those attending Friday will have access to refreshments, music and other activities provided by local vendors and receive assistance by some of Harford County’s finest personal shoppers. Admission for Saturday is free. Bags will be awarded to the highest bidder, but a “Cash and Carry” option is available for those who come across an item they would like to purchase.

In 2017, Hope in Handbags raised more than $22,000 for families with children experiencing homelessness. This year, the organization hopes to raise $25,000 ­– the cost of providing support services for one family, for one year.

“Homelessness can happen to anyone – in any region – when you least expect it,” Tomechko said. “Supporting events like Hope in Handbags is a fabulous way for the ladies of our community to come together and help others in need while stocking up for the holidays (or just stocking up your own closet!).”

Harford Family House is seeking sponsors, donations of new or gently used handbags for the auction and event volunteers. For tickets for Friday, go to harfordfamilyhouse.org. For more information, contact Heather Lynch, Resource Development Manager, at 410-273-6700 or HLynch@harfordfamilyhouse.org.

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