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School offers bags of hope for hopeless

hope bags for the homeless

Helping women: St Augustine’s staff members Allison King, Laurie Hallinan, Kathy Toderello, Sue Hamill and Leanne Cutting present Hopebags to Sally Dickenson (forth for left) from the Palm Beach Neighbourhood Centre.

STAFF at St Augustine’s School, Currumbin Waters, have collected personal care and makeup items to donate to local homeless and at risk women.

Following on from a successful appeal last year, the school donated 11 bags to a local neighbourhood centre to distribute to their clients.

This year the school decided to make the appeal a staff only project.

The view was parents were already asked to contribute a lot to the school life.

Staff members purchased all items to place in the Hopebags, the name given to the project.

Assistant principal religious education Diane Anderson said last year the school found a need to provide women in the local community with handbags full of essential women’s products.

Many of the women were homeless and living in cars.

Ms Anderson said to have to wash in public toilets and carry their few toiletries in a plastic shopping bag was demoralising for people who were already marginalised.

She said the generous-sized tote bags not only did away with the plastic bags, it meant these women could go and attend to their needs with a supply of goods ranging from basic toiletry items to makeup without worrying about looks from the public who may not be aware of their plight.

“We coined the name Hopebags as a play on handbags that provided hope.

Ms Anderson said the school was approached by Palm Beach Neighbourhood Centre and asked if we could help them this year,” Ms Anderson said.

“Our staff rallied and filled 11 bags with items.”

She said when Sally Dickenson from the centre called in to collect the gifts she was amazed at the number of items in each bag.

“She assured the school that the bags would be very much appreciated,” she said.

Ms Dickenson thanked the staff for their generosity in helping others who were in desperate need.

“On behalf of the homeless and at risk of homelessness women I will be seeing on the Gold Coast, I wish to sincerely thank you and the generosity of the teachers at St Augustine’s for the wonderful support you have provided to the Women’s Dignity Support,” she said.

“Thank you for making a difference in these women’s lives.”

Ms Anderson said Hopebags was a simple yet effective way to assist those in need and the school would look towards continuing this new tradition.

Written by: Staff writers
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