The dynamic women behind Harford's Hope in Handbags

(Brian Krista / Patuxent…)
November 25, 2013|By Catherine Mallette

Why not get yourself a gently used or new purse and also help end homelessness in Harford County? This was Joyce Duffy’s thought when she became executive director and CEO of Harford Family House five years ago. She launched the Hope in Handbags Purse Auction & Sale, a fundraiser that every year brings in more donated purses, more people to buy those bags and more money for the organization. The three-day event in September, held at the Bel Air Reckord Armory, begins with a Thursday evening preview party where attendees sip wine and shop early. Volunteer Donna Gustafsson has been a co-chair for the event for all five years, and Jill Duran just served her second year as co-chair. This year the trio brought in about 2,000 purses, including a Gucci bag donated by Saks Fifth Avenue, a Dooney & Bourke from Boscov’s and armfuls of bags from local celebrities. Ninety of the bags were stuffed with additional donated goodies and made up the silent auction part of the fundraiser. To make the event even more special, sponsor Saxon’s Diamond Centers donated a $2,000 watch for the raffle. The event raised $20,000 this year. Duffy notes, “Imagine, more than half of that profit was from selling used purses!”

To learn more about Harford Family House, a Community Housing Development Organization, go to

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