Share the Dignity's It's in the Bag campaign asks people to donate bags filled with women's hygiene essentials. Source: Share the Dignity.
Share the Dignity's It's in the Bag campaign asks people to donate bags filled with women's hygiene essentials. Source: Share the Dignity.

Do this at Bunnings this weekend

For someone who has never been in such a desperate situation, the idea of searching for loose socks to use as sanitary pads is unimaginable.

Yet women in Australia are doing exactly that.

Share The Dignity founder Rochelle Courtenay told news.com.au that many women would be spending Christmas in a domestic violence refuge, they could be homeless or trying to make ends meet living under the poverty line.

"Just last week, we heard from a young woman of how she would go to a laundromat to find loose socks to use for her period," she said.

"It is not uncommon for women and girls to use toilet paper or napkins, as the money they have needs to be spent on feeding their children.

"This is not something that any woman should be experiencing and that is why we do what we do, to provide access to products and provide the dignity every woman deserves when managing her period."

The charity's annual It's In The Bag campaign aims to help women in these situations to gain access to essentials like sanitary products and other toiletries.

The campaign asks Australians to donate old handbags filled with certain essential items including pads/tampons, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, roll on deodorant, and soap or body wash.

This year it aims to collect 150,000 bags including handbags, backpacks and nappy bags for new and expecting mothers.

Donations can be dropped off until Saturday, December 7 at Bunnings Warehouse or White Lady Funerals.

 

Handbags filled with essential toiletries can be donated at Bunnings or White Lady Funerals. Source: Share the Dignity.
Handbags filled with essential toiletries can be donated at Bunnings or White Lady Funerals. Source: Share the Dignity.

 

While the focus is on providing the essentials, Ms Courtenay said some people also chose to add some extra items such as chapstick or lipstick, a book, sunscreen, moisturiser, a fragrance or a pair of socks or earrings.

"People are only limited by the size of their bag, budget and imagination," she said.

Ms Courtenay came up with the idea for It's In The Bag in 2015 after decluttering her bathroom of unused and new products, and realising how a woman who was struggling might appreciate the items.

"I placed them in a spare bag and shared a post on our Share the Dignity Facebook page which went viral," she said.

This year the charity is aiming to collect 150,000 bags, which Ms Courtenay acknowledges is a big number.

"However, we have over 2000 charities that we support with donations nationally and the requests are actually more than this," she said.

She said the reactions from women and girls who were given the bags could be quite different.

 

You can also provide essentials for a young girl or expectant mother.
You can also provide essentials for a young girl or expectant mother.

"Generally the women and girls just can't believe that someone has thought of them at Christmas.

"We've heard how for one women it was the first time that she had felt that someone actually cared for her.

"There is so much kindness in giving things but to give someone a feeling of being cared for - well that is so special."

Share the Dignity's It's in the Bag campaign asks people to donate bags filled with women's hygiene essentials. Source: Share the Dignity.
Share the Dignity's It's in the Bag campaign asks people to donate bags filled with women's hygiene essentials. Source: Share the Dignity.

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