Melissa wanted to do something bigger, make a difference, with her Nursing career. She wanted to address the greater need for healthcare in developing countries, and her recognition of the lack of volunteer nurse opportunities abroad inspired her to action.
In a twist of fate, just as Melissa started selling her excess purses online in 2014, a friend (and now Purses For Nurses Board Member), Andres Arboleda, noted that nurses in rural parts of Africa had no bags in which to carry their supplies. They discussed donating purses as a solution, but eventually struck gold on a new idea: Collect and resell used handbags to fund volunteer nursing ventures, thus sending people abroad instead of things. The benefits would be twofold: Volunteer nurses would provide education, health care and support to locals in developing countries, and back in the U.S., hundreds of thousands of pounds of old handbags would be kept out of landfills.
And so, a new nonprofit organization was born.