Emerald Hospital workplace health and safety advisor Kay Reeks-Stitz is coordinating the It's in the Bag campaign.
Emerald Hospital workplace health and safety advisor Kay Reeks-Stitz is coordinating the It's in the Bag campaign. Kristen Booth

Sending gifts to the women

IN THE spirit of giving and helping others, Emerald Hospital is for the third year in a row running the It's in the Bag campaign to provide essential toiletries as well as luxury gifts to women or girls in need of support or who are in crisis in the pre-Christmas season.

Emerald Hospital workplace health and safety advisor Kay Reeks-Stitz is coordinating the project locally in conjunction with Share the Dignity, a charity that provides sanitary products nation-wide to those who need them throughout the year.

Ms Reeks-Stitz said that in 2016, 130 bags of toiletries, personal hygiene products and luxury items were donated and last year more than 180 bags were given to Emerald Hospital to hand out.

"Initially I had been hoping for 30 bags, so I was blown away,” she said.

"This year we're hoping for over 200.”

She said donations could be made to the hospital from this Friday (November 16) until December 2.

Bags could include items such as deoderants, sanitary pads, toothbrushes, toothpaste as well as luxury items like a notebook , earrings, scarf - "anything nice” - and they could be created to suit an adult or teenager.

"We had so many donations from businesses last year including movie tickets, and someone had donated a beautiful brand new bag with Mimco jewellery,” Ms Reeks-Stitz said.

"The chemist donated hair dryers and hair products. It's absolutely wonderful some of the donations we've had.

"And it's about one community member giving to another.”

Ms Reeks-Stitz said the bags were given to women living as far out as the Gemfields and as far south as Woorabinda.

Members of the community can drop bags at the front reception of Emerald Hospital, and they will then be distributed to local and neighbouring charities and hospitals who will give them to women experiencing hardship.

"We live in such a great community, and the mothers of the families are usually the ones who go without at Christmas time,” Ms Reeks-Stitz said.

"So it's nice to get something and know that someone is thinking of you.”

She said the bags could also include uplifting phrases or poems.

"It's hard to comprehend, but for some people it's do I buy bread for the week or pads? And it's very sad when people are in that situation.

"This is a really good cause, and we're a very giving community here.”