Two local women are working together to show children in out of home care that they are loved and worthy.
Rochelle Payton and Kerrie Norris have started collecting donations for Hope in a Suitcase, a not-for-profit organisation that provides little suitcases filled with personal care essentials and gifts to children in foster care to call their own belongings.
"A child will often enter foster care with only a plastic bag of belongings or less and these bags are then dragged around with them to each placement, sadly for many kids they will move multiple times," the organisation says.
"Their belongings and lives are worth more than a plastic bag. These kids should be able to pack their lives into their very own suitcase with pride and a sense of hope."
The duo are holding a donation drive on Saturday, May 14 from 12pm to 2.30pm at Manning River Sailing Club and are asking people to bring help provide little suitcases or an item/s to help fill suitcases.
Items must be brand new, and can include:
- small suitcases
- soft cuddly toys
- pencils and coloured markers
- night light
- reading books
- blankets and towels
- socks and underwear
- toiletries and sanitary items
- colouring in books and journals
- small activity or toy, for example a toy car
- baby, kids, and teen clothing and pyjamas
- nappies, bottles, dummies and baby essentials
"Some people might be able to drop off a new bag of nappies, which would be helpful. Some people might drop off a suitcase filled with stuff for a certain age group. We're happy whichever way it comes," Rochelle said.
"Any donation is really appreciated."
Second-hand items cannot be accepted, and Rochelle asks that you leave the tags on.
If you would like to donate to Hope in a Suitcase but cannot make it to the Sailing Club on Saturday, there are four businesses who have come on board to become regular local drop off points for donations: Hair on Harrington in Harrington, Diamond Beauty Cosmetic Clinic in Old Bar, Ashlea Road Boutique in Wingham, and Bec's Beautiful People Hair and Beauty Salon in the River Arcade, Taree.
Rochelle and Kerrie are also keen to hear from any other businesses around the Mid Coast, including Forster, who would like to come on board as a drop off point. Contact Kerrie on email@example.com.
To learn more about Hope in a Suitcase go to hopeinasuitcase.com.au.