By Tricia Mifsud

SHARE the Dignity, an Australian women’s charity, will again run its Christmas drive, ‘It’s In The Bag’, where the community can donate a bag of essential toiletries and wellbeing products for women, girls and those who menstruate.

There are three types of bags that can be put together for adults; teens; and mum and bub.

Each bag is slightly different to accommodate for the person receiving the bag, however general items including sanitary products, shampoo and conditions, toothbrush and paste and deodorants are essential to all three bags.

All bags used must be in good condition, and the items donated must be new, sealed, and in their original packaging.

Homemade items are encouraged, but must be new, not used and packaged if possible and have a note attached to identify they are homemade.

Seymour resident and Share the Dignity volunteer Simone Ispanovity said it was great to be a part of a charity that aimed to end period poverty.

“I read about Share the Dignity about three years ago, and had missed the cut off for 2018 It’s In The Bag. I spent the year researching the charity, and found it to be a relatively new charity, with quite a simple initiative; aiming to end period poverty,” she said.

“It amazes me that the findings of the Period Pride report 2021, based on more than 125,000 Australians, found that more 22 per cent of people have to improvise on period products-due to costs.

“With approximately 3.24 million of the population living below the poverty line, access to sanitary products is a right not a privilege and it is a driving force for me to want to help all the women, young girls, teens and mums to ensure they have the products they need but may not be able to afford.

“Giving these bags out to these people makes you feel a sense of warmth; these people have nothing, and may have escaped with just the shirt on their back, some also having young babies and children.”

In her second year of volunteering for Share the Dignity, Ms Ispanovity said she had always wanted to give back to the community, but hadn’t found the right fit until she came across Share the Dignity.

“I have always wanted to give back, and had looked into volunteer work for a long time but just hadn’t found a charity that aligned with my values,” she said.

“I liked that the charity didn’t just help one cause or charity, they partner with over 3000 nationally (to distribute the bags to those in need.”

In 2020, 93,981 donations were passed on to those needing them, bringing the four-year total of the event to 617,517 bag donations, and Share the Dignity hope to beat last year’s record especially in another year affected by COVID-19.

Collection points for the bags will be available at every Bunnings across Australia from November 19 to 28 and then dispersed to the charities who can distribute to women, girls, and those who menstruate in need.

People can also sponsor a bag, where the amount donated goes toward buying essential items to fill more bags. To sponsor a bag, visit click here.

To find out more about the campaign, including what items to donate, visit the Share the Dignity website.