“The Purple Purse is a conversation starter. This is a way to speak about domestic violence in all its forms across America.”
— Bob Diaz, FUMCFW member and Allstate Agency Owner
Domestic violence is not easy to talk about, but it is an important conversation to start. It affects 1 in 4 women — more than breast, ovarian, and lung cancer combined. Although physical abuse usually comes to mind, financial abuse occurs in 98 percent of domestic violence cases. And the main reason survivors stay in or return to an abusive relationship is because they don’t have the financial resources to leave.
Allstate Foundation Purple Purse is a public awareness and fundraising campaign to create long-term safety and security for survivors through financial empowerment. Actress and Purple Purse Ambassador Kerry Washington helped design the purse that is available exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue. A portion of the proceeds from every sale benefit Allstate Foundation Purple Purse nonprofits.
FUMCFW member Bob Diaz says his parents taught him at an early age to think of others and give back in any way possible, and as an Allstate Agency Owner he says he believes the Purple Purse initiative offers a great way to help close to home. “I have a mother and two sisters, as well as three stepdaughters,” Bob explains. “I never want them, nor any other female, to experience this abuse, so I wanted to do something to raise awareness in my community.”
Although Allstate has many agents across America, only 200 were able to secure a purse to give to a deserving person. Gay Ingram is the Kids Hope Coordinator for our mentorship program with T.A. Sims Elementary School. Bob says he chose Gay to receive the Purple Purse because of the deep concern and care she has for the students at T.A. Sims. Bob believes that children suffer a great deal when there is an abusive situation in their family, and teachers can sense when something may be wrong in a student’s home. “With Gay’s help, along with the caring teachers at T.A. Sims, we may be able to help some women and, in turn, affect a child’s outlook on life,” Bob declares. He feels like Gay has consistently been involved in Kids Hope USA, so he thought the Purple Purse Foundation was the next logical step for her — and she was his immediate first choice. “Gay takes the time to learn the teachers, students, and their families’ names,” Bob adds. “She has a true passion for what she does, and we are better for knowing her.”
Bob gave the Purple Purse to Gay at the first Kids Hope meeting for mentors at the T.A. Sims Library on October 14. He spoke about the foundation and how domestic violence affects so many women, and then he presented the purse to Gay. “My favorite part of the presentation was the surprised look in Gay’s eyes when I announced her name as the recipient of the purse,” Bob recalls. “She had no idea she was picked to receive the purse.” Bob says he has seen Gay wearing the purse since the presentation, and he hopes that it will spark a conversation that could help, affect, or even save someone’s life.
As Bob puts it, being an Allstate agentis fulfilling because it enables him to help his clients protect what is important in their lives. Plus, it allows him to give back to his community through Kids Hope and other volunteer opportunities. Because of Bob’s participation in the Purple Purse campaign, he was given permission by Andrea Harper, T.A. Sims principal, to place brochures in the teacher’s lounge in case any students at the school need help. “There are several forms of abuse such as physical, financial, and mental abuse,” Bob says. “If we all work together, the cycle of abuse can be broken.”
Visit purplepurse.com to join the conversation about domestic violence. If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800/799-7233.