With over three million Australians living below the poverty line, Christmas time and the holiday season can be disheartening for those who are facing tough financial situations.
A few months ago Share the Dignity, an Australian charity organisation distributing sanitary items to vulnerable women and girls, held their August donation drive.
Over 220,000 sanitary items were collected during that month, an “extraordinary number”, founder Rochelle Courtney told Hack.
“But it is not like we are giving a woman a warm jacket and it keeps her warm for years. This is enough for 50,000 women for four months and our need unfortunately outweighs our donations,” she said.
This week, until December 7, the organisation is running their ‘It’s In The Bag’ appeal, which aims to collect 150,000 handbags and backpacks filled with hygiene items for vulnerable women, teens and new mums.
Over 245,000 bags have been collected across the country since 2017, and this year the organisation is also asking for items to help expectant and new mums.
“Women are often using alternatives to sanitary items like socks or newspaper to deal with her period this Christmas so it’s vital we receive as many bag donations as possible,” Rochelle said.
“If you are not in a position to donate a bag, sharing this via social media is also a great way to help!”
What can I donate?
Things like sanitary items, roll-on deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo, soap, nappy bags and nappies, rash cream and breastfeeding pads, donated in bags that are in used but good condition, will be given to women who need it most.
Eco-friendly alternatives are also welcome and appreciated. These could be items such as menstrual cups, cloth nappies and pads.
Rochelle says essential, everyday items such as these can be taken for granted, but what we often hear about are the thoughtful items.
“These includes things like notepads and pens, earrings, make-up, Chapsticks, maybe a scarf, sunscreen, umbrellas, torches or maybe even a movie voucher,” she said.
“We would like people to think about what they would love to receive in a handbag that could be one of the only possessions people own.”
Writing a Christmas card or an encouraging letter to donate with the bag is also a welcome gesture.
“We recently heard a story of a young teen who received a bag and was having a really hard mental health day, and she said that those words of kindness is why she is still here today,” Rochelle said.
How and where to donate?
You can drop off your bags filled with essential items at all 300 Bunnings Warehouse stores across Australia until Saturday.
“We have been truly blown away by the support ‘It’s in the Bag’ receives every year. To continue supplying bags to those in need, I’d like to encourage Australians to get involved and donate a bag suited for an adult female, teenage girl or new mum,” Rochelle said.
Once bags are collected by Share the Dignity volunteers, they will be delivered to shelters, charities and drop-in centres across inner-city, suburban, regional and rural locations across the country, just in time for Christmas.
Author Nkayla Afshariyan