They say Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! But for some people, that’s not always true. There are many people in Australia who cannot afford to have a lovely Christmas. You may be surprised to find out just how many people are doing it tough, even in your own local community.
Australian women’s charity Share the Dignity works year-round to make a difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness, facing poverty or fleeing domestic violence. Throughout the year they work to end period poverty right here in Australia by running various drives to collect and distribute period products to those in need.
For Christmas, Share the Dignity step it up even more with the It’s in the Bag campaign. During the It’s in the Bag Campaign, which in 2020 is running from 20 November to 29 November, you can donate a handbag filled with essential items to your local Bunnings store collection point. Share the Dignity volunteers will collect the handbags and distribute them to their partner charities.
Period Poverty in Australia
3.2 million Australians are currently living below the poverty line and 52% of those are women and young girls. There are thousands of women and girls around the country who are facing homelessness, domestic violence and other financial instability every single day. But regardless of what adversities they are facing, these women and girls still need to deal with their period every month.
Have you ever cursed your period? Felt annoyed by its untimely arrival? Burdened by the associated cramps and discomfort? Inconvenienced by running out of pads or tampons and having to go to the shops to get more? But have you ever thought how much worse it could be to endure your period every month, without the most basic of items?
Without access to period products, women and girls around the country are using makeshift pads and tampons to manage their period. Using items like rolled up old socks, scrunched up toilet paper or newspaper. Even using the same pad or same tampon for days because they only have one. They may have to choose between buying period products and feeding the family. No one should have to go without the products required to manage their period with dignity.
How Can You Help?
Share the Dignity hold many wonderful events throughout the year aimed to raise money and collect donations for their charity partners.
It’s in the Bag
It’s in the Bag is currently running until 29 November 2020. You can donate a handbag filled with essential items for a woman, teen or mum in need.
What to do:
- Choose who you would like to prepare a bag for – you can choose to make a bag for a teenage girl, an adult or a mum and bub.
- Find a handbag to donate – it can be new or used, but if it’s used it must be in great condition. If you wouldn’t give it to your best friend, then don’t donate it. I purchased a new bag from Kmart for $15, so it was relatively cheap, but still looked great.
- Go on a mini shopping spree and collect all the essential items that need to go into your chosen back. See below the details of what is required in each bag.
- While you’re shopping, feel free to pick up any additional items you think may be nice for someone to receive at Christmas. Some extra luxuries like hand cream, hairbrush, lip gloss, makeup, notepad and pen or even a book would be lovely. Don’t buy any items that are not allowed (like food, razors, pharmaceuticals etc).
- Go home and pack your bag with love! Pop in a handwritten Christmas card for an extra special touch.
- If you’re donating a teen bag or a mum and bub bag make sure you attach the corresponding coloured tag/ribbon. Yellow for teens and and purple for mum and bub bags. You can attach your own ribbon or download a tag here: https://www.sharethedignity.org.au/event/its-in-the-bag/iitb-info
- Once your bag is ready, don’t forget to take a photo and tag #Itsinthebag #sharethedignity @sharethedignity and @thebetterperiod_
- Take the bag to your local Bunnings before 29 November 2020 and drop your bag into the designated collection box. It should be pretty noticeable at the front of the store, but if you can’t find it, just ask one of the friendly Bunnings staff.
Your donation to It’s in the Bag is complete – thank you so much for your generosity!
The biannual Dignity Drives are another great way to get involved. There are collection points around Australia for members of the public to donate period products like pads and tampons.
These donations are distributed to the charity partners of Share the Dignity. The partner charities ensure Australian women and girls in need are provided with the basic items they need to manage their period with dignity every month.
All Woolworths stores are also collection points during the dignity drives. This makes it super easy for you to buy an extra packet of pads or tampons when you’re doing your groceries and drop it straight it into the collection box on your way out.
You can donate pads, tampons, menstrual cups, period underwear and incontinence pads to the collection boxes. The donations will be picked up by the Share the Dignity volunteers, called ‘Sheroes and Heroes’ and distributed to the partner charities to fulfill the charity orders.
The Dignity Drives and It’s in the Bag collection are just two of the ways to contribute to Share the Dignity. If you’d like to learn more about Share the Dignity and their events, you can visit the website or contact in the comments below, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram @thebetterperiod_
Sheroes And Heroes
I am proud to be a volunteer ‘Shero’ for Share the Dignity. It’s wonderful to work together with so many other volunteers to pull off the events. It’s a huge team effort to make sure all donations are picked up, sorted into bags, combined to fulfil charity orders and finally distributed to the charities.
The last Dignity Drive saw me needing to fulfil an order of 500 pads for a local charity. This meant coordinating with about 6 other Sheroes to pick up and drop off pads across my area of Sydney North Shore. I had huge bags of pads stored at my home and in my car and finally had to borrow a bigger car from my mother-in-law to deliver the final 500 pads to the charity. There were funny moments, including seeing my husband and another Shero’s husband work together to pick up pads that had fallen out all down the driveway as a result of a split bag!
I hope you will agree that Share the Dignity is a wonderful charity, worthy of our support. As they rely on the generous donations from the public, it would be so appreciated if you could spread the word about them. Whether you tell a friend or share this post, every bit counts.
The Better Period
Ellie Heasman is a period blogger and founder of The Better Period. Ellie helps people on their journey to a better period through introducing them to the world of menstrual cups and period underwear, and sharing knowledge about the menstrual cycle and fertility awareness. You can join in the better period conversations on Instagram @thebetterperiod_ or find out more about Ellie here.