Mother turns heartbreak into healing with purses 'full of love'

Mother turns heartbreak into healing with purses 'full of love'
Posted at 8:48 PM, Feb 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 06:23:04-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — You could feel the love in the community room of Mending Hearts, not just because of the Valentine's Day decorations, but because the room full of women shared something special.

"It's like a sisterhood," said Abby Hagewood, a resident at the facility.

Many of the women at Mending Hearts are overcoming addiction.

"So Mending Hearts is a long-term residential treatment program for women overcoming substance abuse, mental health, chronic homelessness," said Yolanda Maness, the facility's associate clinical director.

It's a cause Geneva Baird knows all too well. "These women were my daughter," she said.

Baird's 22-year-old daughter Katie Baird was one of three women who died in a fire at a different sober living home on Valentine's Day in 2018.

"She was in a place where she was lost, but she was clean and sober when she left this world," said Baird.

Following Katie's death, Geneva wanted to take her pain and turn it into something positive. "Since she died on Valentine's Day, that's when you show your love and your heart — that's how I developed a 'Purse Full of Love,'" she said.

At the event Saturday the ladies enjoyed food, haircuts and other spa services. They were also given brand new purses filled with gifts thanks to a "Purse Full of Love."

"It makes them feel really worthy, it makes them feel thought of, it makes them feel like they're not just a number, they're not just a statistic — they're a true human being with a soul who needs love and nurturing like everybody and they're getting some of that today," said Maness.

It's a reminder that love is available not just now, but all year round for those who need it.

"Never give up," said Hagewood. "There is a second chance out there but you just gotta find the right people and the right places for it to happen".

Mending Hearts offers residential treatment, a partial hospitalization program, an intensive outpatient program, and other treatments. Programs at Mending Hearts are free and insurance is not necessary for those who enroll. For more information, click here.