A couple of years ago I spent a week in the Monash Children’s Hospital with my 4-year-old son. It was unexpected and extremely stressful. Before I left the house I had the presence of mind to pack a phone charger and that was about it.
Kind family and friends brought me the necessities – change of clothes, toothbrush and toothpaste. They brought Mr 4 new toys – colouring books, pens and Lego – and gifts of food.
One friend, who also happens to be a paediatrician who spends a lot of time in hospitals with seriously ill children, brought a soft toy for Mr 4. And for me – she brought scented body wash.
‘It’s a small thing, but it might help you feel better,’ she explained.
Scented body wash was not going to stop Mr 4’s brain from swelling and it wouldn’t help him walk again. It wasn’t something either of us needed.
But my friend was right – it did make me feel just a tiny bit better.
In the snatched seconds I managed to spend in the hospital bathroom I used it to wash my hands and face. It was a refreshing little luxury which brought a glimmer of something better to an awful situation.
Share the Dignity’s ‘It’s In The Bag’ for Christmas
Share the Dignity, an Australian charity founded by Rochelle Courtenay, is asking you to help them do the same thing for women in need this Christmas.
Their ‘It’s In The Bag’ Christmas campaign seeks to provide necessities plus a few little luxuries, all wrapped up in a handbag which can be used throughout the year.
Share the Dignity says:
“The “It’s in the Bag” Christmas campaign idea came to us when we realised that we seem to manage the needs of children at Christmas, ensuring they’re cared for and made to feel special, but the same can’t always be said for those women who put the needs of others before their own. We wanted to make them feel special.”
How you can share a few little luxuries this Christmas
Step 1: Grab a handbag
Start with a handbag. It doesn’t have to be brand new, but it does need to be in excellent condition. I’d cleared out all my handbags (except the ones I use!) a while ago, but luckily my mum had not one, but two we could fill!
Step 2: Put some stuff in it
It’s entirely up to you, but a great start is a packet of sanitary pads or tampons. Other necessities Mum and I included were toothbrush and toothpaste and some soap. Then we moved on to the little luxuries, such as handcream, lip balm and a pretty scarf.
Check out the Share the Dignity website for a full list of suggestions, as well as a few things you can’t put in there.
Step 3: Drop it off between 19 November – 3 December 2016
Once you’ve filled your bag (or bags!) just drop them at your nearest collection point. A full list of collection points will be published on Share the Dignity’s Collection point page on Wednesday 16 November. You’ll be able to drop your bag/s off any time from 19 November – 3 December 2016.
What happens to the handbags after that?
Share the Dignity’s team of volunteers will ensure your kind gifts are distributed to the charities which help women over the Christmas period.
I experienced the the small difference a simple scented body wash can make in a time of crisis.
For a woman fleeing domestic violence or other crises, a handbag full of toiletries won’t fix her problems. But it will let her know that you’re thinking of her. That you see her.
And it might just make it feel a bit more like Christmas.