Jodi Hall turned her struggle into a way for the community to come together.

“I’ve struggled with mental health since I was a pre-teen,” she explains. Hall has used expressive art as a way to cope.

She recently visited the hospital to get help with her mental health and during her stay, she has none of the supplies she had at home. She says it was tough because those art supplies are what she uses to cope. “That’s where the idea came to me,” she says. If she is in this position, she thought it’s likely others are too. For her – and many others- art supplies are hard to get for different reasons. She started Muskoka Purseveres as a way to get supplies and other coping items to people to help them with their mental health.

The idea is that she takes gently used purses and fills them with art supplies and other items that might help someone cope. 

“Through COVID many of us are feeling the isolating effects more than before,” Hall says. “I want to share the power of expressive art and self-care with the community.”

“I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback,” she says on what she’s heard so far. Through the Facebook page that’s been set-up, she says some have poured their heart out to her. On top of that, people have also been donating supplies. “Lots of people have been willing to contribute,” she tells the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom. 

As a mom of two young kids, Hall says it’s tough battling with her mental health, add on top of that her struggle with postpartum depression. “That brought out even more of the expressive art,” she says.

You can email [email protected] or call 705-646-3614 if you want to donate anything. Hall says she is looking for gently used purses, art supplies, female hygiene items, sketchbooks and journals. “Anything that would make someone feel special and would be a coping method,” she explains.

Right now, she is only sending the bags to women but hopes to offer the program to men soon. She’s already dropped off six bags at the women’s shelter Muskoka Interval House.