#itsinthebag this Christmas
At last count there were 105, 237 homeless people in Australia. That’s 1 in every 200 Australians. It’s estimated that 44% of our homeless population are women.
I discovered this statistic not long after I watched Broken Homes, a recent Four Corners investigation about our failed child protection system. It’s a confronting and harrowing watch and it highlights the struggle of two teenage girls who have been in the system for most of their lives.
The chances of these girls getting Christmas gifts this year are slim. So I thought it best to share the word about #itsinthebag, a Christmas initiative by the inspiring team behind Share The Dignity. They recently shared this information via their social media channels and I immediately thought of the two brave girls who spoke to Four Corners.
“After a conversation yesterday with a remarkable woman who works in Child Protection I cried when I realised we probably could also be looking after young girls from 14 to 18 with our #itsinthebag Xmas appeal. This is what Emma had to say. “Having worked for a long time in the child protection and foster care space, it is sadly always, without fail, the older kids that miss out more than any other age group at Christmas. Despite there being a massive Christmas gift appeal for children in care every year, and some very generous donations, there are very few presents donated for teenagers. Let’s face it, teenagers are generally harder to buy for, but no less amazing and worthy. I know so many young teenage girls in care who would just be so thrilled to receive an awesome “it’s in the bag” gift for Christmas this year. It’s something fun, young and useful all in one and then when they open it…..it’s full of cool stuff.”
To differentiate between women’s and teen’s bags, we’re encouraged to tie a yellow ribbon around the handles. So that’s exactly what the kids and I are working on. I’ve found a big, bright bohemian cotton tote bag and we’re filling it with daily essentials, toiletries, stationery, underwear and a few special trinkets.
If you’re interested in creating your own bag you can find a list of collection points here – all points are taking donations till December 3rd and will then distribute them to local charity organisations. Share the Dignity have kindly asked us not to include lollies, chocolates, alcohol, medication, razors or knives. But, they would absolutely love generous donations for teens which could include:
- sanitary items
- shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo
- hair brush + hair ties
- body wash + moisturiser
- hand sanitizer + hand cream + manicure set + nail polish
- deodorant + perfume
- pencils + pens + notebook + colouring book
- small torch (something I wouldn’t have thought of but a very good idea!)
- socks + undies + singlet tops
- lip balm + lip gloss
- toiletries bag
- necklace + bracelet
- gift voucher to department stores or supermarkets
If you have any other ideas I’d love to hear them.