Local fashion designer takes in donated purses, stocks them and hands them out to needy

SEATTLE  --  A local fashion designer and her friends are proving it really is better to give than receive.

Swati Padmaraj never leaves home without the essentials.

"For me a handbag is like a home away from home.  When I take my purse out and I have all my stuff in there. I feel more secure," says Swati.

It makes her feel good.  And that's why she and her friend, Shraddah, are stocking and stuffing hundreds of purses for women who could really use some of that same "feel good", too.

There's always room for one more.  That's the idea behind their social media challenge, encouraging women near and far to donate a handbag and some supplies.

"I believe in social media a lot," says Swati.

But she had no idea how many women would believe in her idea.

"Shocking! Amazing! Overwhelming!," she describes.

Her living room is covered in over 600 handbags and dozens of volunteers are packing them up.

We tagged along as they traveled to area shelters Tuesday night, to see for ourselves as others came to believe too.

"There's people out there who really do care!" exclaimed one recipient who says she's been homeless for several months.

For those carrying so much of life's invisible baggage everyday, it's something to help carry them through.

"A lot of women aren't able to carry purses and bags when they're living from shelter to shelter," says Jeanice Hardy, regional director for the YWCA programs.

And while the need is still great, thanks to people like Swati and Shraddah, there's more reason to be thankful.

Swati and Shraddah hope their small act of kindness will inspire others to get creative and do something thoughtful for someone in need this holiday season.