A Christmas handbag donation scheme aims to restore dignity to women who have been unable to access basic sanitary items due to poverty, homelessness or fleeing domestic violence.
Share the Dignity is calling on people to donate sanitary items and a Christmas gift such as a voucher, make up, or something nice in a handbag for the It's In The Bag campaign.
Share the Dignity It's in the Bag regional coordinator Lisa Garlick said they are seeking donations for three different types of bags including: for adult women, teenager girls, and mums with babies, and they always need more of the second two.
She said the bags should contain shampoo, conditioner, roll-on deodorant but not spray, a toothbrush and toothpaste as well as relevant sealed sanitary products.
Miss Garlick said the teenage bag should be something a teenage girl would use, period products should be suitable for younger bodies, and the gift should also be geared for a teenager. She asked that it be tied with a yellow ribbon so they can tell it apart from the others.
The mums and bubs bag should also include maternity pads, breast pads, newborn nappies, disposable nappy bags, baby wipes, dummies, baby wash, nappy rash cream in addition to the shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste.
Miss Garlick said 222 adult bags, 64 bags for teenage girls and 24 mum and bub bags were donated to the It's In The Bag campaign in the Central Tablelands last year.
"In 2019 the recipient charities in Orange were Bernardos, Housing Plus, Mission Australia, Veritas House, Orange Aboriginal Medical Service and Headspace," Miss Garlick said.
Share the Dignity volunteer Katrina McDonald said the initiative started to give homeless women access to sanitary products due to many having to resort to using toilet paper in place of sanitary pads.
Ms McDonald said if people donate a pre-loved handbag it must have no clear signs of use.
She said people should think of the donation as something they would give to their best friend.
"Everything needs to be in the original packaging, otherwise for hygiene we cannot distribute it," she said.
"We get more demand for mums and bubs bags than we can supply, Rotary is going to contribute with that and CWA Molong.
The Orchard manager Gemma Brotherton has already been distributing handbags of sanitary items from a previous Share the Dignity campaign and said they were a great help to the women who come to the domestic violence refuge.
"Their basic needs are put aside a lot of the time and their children's needs are put ahead," she said.
"Every time we gave them out they were appreciative.
"Also with women who are fleeing violence they cannot take these things with them."
She said The Orchard, and Housing Plus can hand out the bags to women who have fled their home as well as to those who are planning to flee.
A collection box for the bags has been set up at the entrance to Bunnings. People can leave their It's In The Bag donations there until Sunday, November 29, so they can be collected, checked and distributed.
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