Share in the spirit of generosity

November 23, 2021 BY

Torquay’s Donna Symes is hoping generous locals will join her in experiencing the joy of giving this Christmas by donating to those who really need it.

Donna is the local co-ordinator for Share the Dignity’s annual “It’s in the Bag” initiative which is run in conjunction with Bunnings stores Australia wide.

The campaign runs from November 19-28 when the community is asked donate a bag of essential toiletries and wellbeing products for women and girls.

Those items include shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, a toothbrush, deodorant, and either tampons or sanitary pads. Share the Dignity also includes a luxury item.

Donna said there are three types of bags – adults, teens and a mum and bub bag.


Items needed include shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, a toothbrush, deodorant, and either tampons or sanitary pads.


“These may be needed by women escaping domestic violence, young girls who are homeless or just women who are doing it tough,” she said.

“The bags are put together as a handbag for adults, a backpack for teenagers, and a nursery bag for new mothers and babies.

“The collection point is Bunnings Torquay for the Surf Coast, and they are then dispersed to the charities who can distribute them to women or girls in need.”

Donna got involved three years ago after seeing a newspaper advertisement for volunteers and she enjoys helping those who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

She said the Salvation Army op shop in Torquay, where she is also a volunteer, as well as the St Luke’s op shop, also pass on donated handbags and toiletry items to Share the Dignity.

“People are unknowingly already donating to Share the Dignity by donating handbags to the op shop and by giving gift packs of toiletries they don’t need,” she said.


A poster promoting the appeal and what items are needed.


“The op shop puts them aside for me and then I put the bags together at the end of the year.”

Although reluctant to take any credit for her many volunteer efforts, Donna definitely goes above and beyond by selling chutneys and jams throughout the year to fund the purchase of more toiletries.

A room in her home is filled with goods ready to be distributed this Christmas.

“Last year I think we put together 200 bags,” Donna said.

“I think we could do better than that given the size of Torquay but I think a lot of people don’t know about it so hopefully we can spread some awareness this year.”

Share the Dignity would also love more local volunteers to help Donna on the Surf Coast. Information can be found on the Share the Dignity website.

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