Give a gift of dignity this Christmas

November 18, 2023 BY

Donations received during the campaign will be given to women and girls experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence or doing it tough. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

VOLUNTEERS are seeking donations of toiletries and sanitary items for women and girls experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence or doing it tough this Christmas.

The call out is part of non-profit Share the Dignity’s annual Christmas appeal, “It’s in the Bag”.

The campaign encourages Australians to put together a handbag filled with essential items that can be distributed to charities that work directly with women and girls in need.

This year the campaign will run from November 10-26 and donations can be delivered to any Bunnings, nationwide.

In the Greater Geelong and Surf Coast regions there are four possible donations points, with Bunnings located in North Geelong, Waurn Ponds, Leopold and Torquay.

Donna Symes has been co-ordinating the charity’s Torquay effort for the past four years.

She’s hopeful the collection at Torquay Bunnings will reach 200 bags this year.

“It’s a really important charity.”

Share the Dignity Torquay co-ordinator, Donna Symes, with Norlane Lions Club president, John McKinnon. The Norlane Lions Clubs received 200 bag donations from the charity’s Torquay volunteers last year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED


“I just would hate to be in the position that some vulnerable girls and women could be in at Christmas time.”

Share the Dignity is Australia’s third largest women’s charity and has facilitated the donation of more than 800,000 handbags filled with essential items since it began in 2015.

To assist campaign contributors, the non-profit have put together a helpful guide with three different donation recommendations, each focusing on the needs of adults, teenagers and mothers with babies respectively.

“What you sort of imagine is a woman has had to leave home and all she can take is her handbag, so in that handbag [we’re hoping for] essential items like shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, and sanitary items,” Ms Symes said.

“And we say, if you’ve got time, put a little handwritten note in there to the recipient and maybe put in an extra little luxury item, like a pair of socks or a bottle of perfume – so that’s in the adult bag.

“The teenage bag is the same except we request sanitary items that are more suitable for a teenager.”

For mothers with babies, handbag donations also include essential baby items including baby wipes and nappy rash cream.

Ms Symes said the handbags donated do not have to new bags.

Donations can be delivered to drop off points located at every Bunnings Warehouse across Australia


“Just pre-loved bags, or a bag you would give your best friend.”

“If you’re not able to source a bag, you can just put the loose items in the box at Bunnings.

“There’s no problem if you can only afford to put in shampoo and conditioner. We’re grateful for anything.”

Loose donation items can also be dropped off at the Torquay Community House. Items will be assembled to create complete bags that will be donated to the cause.

This year St Luke’s Opportunity Shop and the Women’s Sharing Shed Torquay are also participating in the campaign, and the Salvation Army will be helping by supplying handbags and other items for donations.

“The majority of our bags stay in the Geelong region,” Ms Symes said.

“People are doing it tough at Christmas.

This might be the only gift they receive.”

To find out more and for advice on what to include in your donations, head to sharethedignity.org.au.

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