(CBS DETROIT) — Michigan State Police is collecting new purses and personal care items to support sexual assault survivors through its annual “Purses with a Purpose” program.

The statewide initiative will run through the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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In Metro Detroit, the items can be donated from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Metro North Post (14350 10 Mile Road in Oak Park) or Metro South Post (12111 Telegraph Road in Taylor).

MSP says the items will be distributed to HAVEN (Oakland County), Turning Point (Macomb County) and Vista Maria (Wayne County).

According to a press release, the program was started by Trooper Andrea Tillman at the Cadillac Post.

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“In our line of work, we see people leaving horrible situations all the time, and sometimes they can’t even grab necessities like a toothbrush or clean socks,” Trooper Tillman said. “I saw something online and tweaked the idea to fit our need. That’s how we started Purses with a Purpose.”

Michigan State Police is collecting new purses and personal care items to support victims of sexual assault through its annual “Purses with a Purpose” program. (credit: Michigan State Police)

In the initial year, more than 500 purses were collected. After being put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic, the program was relaunched in 2021. Tillman, along with Trooper Cabria Shirley, suggested expanding it to all MSP posts.

More than 6,000 purses were donated last year.

“This was our committee’s first ’big’ project,” said Shirley, who co-chairs the Community Involvement Committee of the Women Leading Change ERG. “Like the original initiative, it was super successful with more than 6,000 purses, and countless comfort items, collected during the monthlong donation drive.”

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