Raleigh, NC

Raleigh ministry puts ‘love and care’ into action

The Triangle Tribune

Priscilla Hawkins, far right, supports women at her "Meet Me At the Water" gathering.Photo byCourtesy of Hawkins

By Mia Khatib


RALEIGH — Priscilla Hawkins is an ordained minister, a licensed notary, an arts director and production writer, a mother, and her community’s go-to person. Through her Evangelist faith, Hawkins has made it her life’s mission to help her community.

What started as her decluttering her closet turned into a “Pretty Purse Project,” where she collects gently used pocketbooks, fills them with toiletries and supplies, and hands them out to struggling women in Wake and Edgecombe counties, and surrounding communities. The news spread fast, and she has received boxes of stuffed pocketbooks from as far away as South Korea.

“I show up in the places where some people will be afraid to show up in, but I understand the compassion of it all because I would want somebody to show up for me,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins routinely helps seniors around the house, connects people to programs that will fill a need and visits homeless shelters. She is now looking to organize youth events like a summer prom and a citywide production.

Hawkins doesn’t have an official organization but said she has repeat volunteers and is constantly bringing others on board. They go by “Love and Care Ministry” when they’re out so people can identify with something other than her. “It's not about Priscilla, it's about making a difference,” she said. “During Black History Month, we hear the same names over and over… I’m interested in letting people know that there are some other pioneers out here concerned about their community.”

Jackie Moore, one of Hawkins’ fellow Tarboro High School graduates and repeat volunteers, said her efforts not only help people make ends meet but also serve as a mental lift that someone, even a stranger, cares. “I have zero doubt in my mind that if I send money for something she’s working on, every penny is going where she says it's going and she will stretch it as far as she can,” Moore said. “She doesn't mind asking, if she's aware of a need, making people aware of it to see if somebody has a heart for that particular problem.”

“Meet Me At the Water” is another one of Hawkins’ original programs. This event started last year as an opportunity for women to gather at Sandling Beach in Wake County to unload their burdens, network, and begin healing together. But, per her son’s input, Hawkins is opening it up to everyone. The next event is Aug. 26 at 10 a.m.

Ryan Hawkins told The Tribune that he attended the event last year just to take photos but left moved and longed to participate. “I saw a lot of freedom,” he said. “I know she set it up for ladies to have their space and enjoy that camaraderie, but it was inspiring for me because in society that is not a thing that is necessarily praised or pushed for males.”

Ryan said his mother has a way of separating herself and her struggles from the person she’s helping. For example, Hawkins was widowed less than a year into her marriage with his stepfather, but that didn’t stop her from consoling newly widowed women who lost their husbands unexpectedly.

Through everything, Hawkins maintains a full-time job and said she finds balance in her thoughts. She’s been homeless and now lives in a house that she watched be built from the ground up. “I remember how I was and vow to not see anybody else do it,” she said. “The joy of seeing people stop crying and start smiling. They got their heads lifted up again because somebody stopped for a moment and made a little difference,” she said.

To volunteer or contribute to her mission, email Hawkins at priscilla.hawkins@att.net.

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The Triangle Tribune is a part of The Charlotte Post Publishing Company. We are a multimedia conglomerate that covers the Triangle's African American community in community news, business, HBCU sports, health, and arts and lifestyle since March 1998.

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