It’s in the bag for Christmas

It's In The Bag campaign at all Bunnings' nationwide. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

A recent survey has revealed that 39 percent of Australian women are concerned about affording Christmas presents this year.

In response to these financial struggles, Australian charity Share the Dignity has witnessed a steady increase in demand from their charity partners for their annual Christmas appeal, “It’s in the Bag.“

This November, Share the Dignity is calling on Queenslanders to ensure women and girls spending Christmas in domestic violence refuges, homeless shelters, or living in poverty receive basic essentials and the gift of love and hope through the It’s in the Bag campaign.

This initiative, now in its ninth year, encourages people to pay it forward by filling a bag with essential items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, roll-on deodorant, and period products. Optional extras like lip balm, socks, or handwritten notes can also be included.

Bags filled with these much-needed essentials can be dropped off at any Bunnings store nationwide from 10 November until 26 November.

According to the most recent statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on personal safety, an estimated 2.7 million Australian women have experienced family or domestic violence, while approximately 53,974 women were homeless in 2021.

Share the Dignity conducted a survey of 3,648 Australian women, revealing that almost 20 percent go without basic essentials included in It’s in the Bag donations due to cost.

The increasing number of people affected by the rising cost of living is concerning, and Share the Dignity’s founder and managing director, Rochelle Courtenay, expressed hope that donations would increase after being significantly impacted over the past three years.

“Each year thousands of women and girls are waking up on Christmas morning in domestic violence refuges and homeless shelters,“ she said.

“For many, an It’s in the Bag might be the only gift they receive for Christmas. For those who can afford to give, I urge you to put an It’s in the Bag together this year.

“You never know who in your life could be experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, or struggling to make ends meet, so please help a woman in need this Christmas.“

The goal of Share the Dignity is to receive enough donations to meet the anticipated 140,000 charity requests this year.

To highlight the impact of an It’s in the Bag donation, Kim Hamson shared her personal experience of receiving a bag after fleeing domestic violence with her daughter.

She described it as a life-changing gift that brought hope and a sense of worth during an incredibly challenging time.

Volunteer Team Leader Courtney Klinkosz from Share the Dignity QLD hopes to see more Queenslanders support the cause and donate bags to help vulnerable women and girls in need.

“We’re expecting to receive more than 40,000 requests from charities in Queensland this year. For women and girls experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, or poverty, this might be the only gift they receive this Christmas.

“That’s why I am urging Queenslanders to give the gift of dignity this Christmas by lovingly donating an It’s in the Bag filled with life’s essentials,“ Courtney said.

Bunnings, the well-known home improvement retailer, is proud to support Share the Dignity’s It’s in the Bag appeal once again this year. Over the past seven years, Bunnings stores have collected over 623,000 bags through their participation in the campaign.

Bunnings Chief Customer Officer Ryan Baker highlighted the significance of the initiative, particularly in light of the challenging year Australians have faced.

He encouraged customers to donate bags filled with essentials and expressed gratitude for the ongoing generosity shown by their customers.

To support women and girls in need, individuals can drop off an It’s in the Bag donation at their nearest Bunnings store from 10 November 26 November.

Donations can also be made online through Sponsor a Bag or by registering to become a Share the Dignity volunteer. Share the Dignity will distribute the donations to those in need in time for Christmas through their network of 3,000 charity partners.