St Anne’s Share the Dignity

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20 November 2017

Ahead of World Day of the Poor on 19 November 2017, St Anne’s School in Seaford joined the #itsinthebag campaign that aims to provide sanitary items and bathroom products for underprivileged women throughout Australia.

The Christmas initiative, run by the Share the Dignity charity, will see the donation of new or underused handbags filled with bathroom and sanitary items as well as other various gifts.

On Wednesday 15 November, St Anne’s Grade 6 students packed 68 handbags. Led by parent Kristin Rowell and principal Rod Shaw, each student placed a thoughtful, handwritten Christmas card in every handbag to accompany personal hygiene products and everyday luxuries for homeless women, women at risk and women experiencing domestic violence.

‘The #itsinthebag initiative provides women with essential things like soap and toothpaste that others may take for granted,’ says Kristin. ‘The campaign is very much about providing a range of products. Some bags have things like movie vouchers in them, which is a nice gift for Christmas.’

She believes it’s crucial for children to embrace Christmas as a giving period and to be aware of the different circumstances people experience and contend with.

‘For many of us, it’s a time where we sit around a table with an abundance of food. We’re safe, we’re warm and we’re sheltered. For some women during the Christmas period, they may not have that. So it’s a way of giving back,’ says Kristin.

‘I think it’s quite important for children to be taught things like this.’

‘Older children especially may understand it a little bit more and can get a lot out of it. The number of homeless women in Victoria is now around 10,000. It allows children to understand that even if they don’t see homelessness every day, it’s certainly there. It’s important to bring everybody together and make sure we are looking after our community members, our fellow parishioners and giving back to the community where you can,’ adds Kristin.

She says the students and staff at St Anne’s are embracing campaigns to assist others and that the ‘amazing’ and ‘soulful’ children are ‘quick to jump on board with anything that can help other people.’

‘They have been really excited to contribute to this initiative,’ explains Kristin. ‘They were given freedom to write whatever they wished in the Christmas cards and some of the messages they’ve written are really touching. It’s humbling that they’re excited to be involved and taking it on board.’

This article was originally published in the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne website. 

Image 1. Grade 6 Students from St Anne's Help pack handbags for the #itsinthebag campaign. Photo courtesy: Kristin Rowell. Image 2 - Close up of products. Image 3 - Principal Rod Shaw and Vice Principal/RE Coordinator Sally Thomas with full bags. Photo Courtesy of Kristin Rowell.