By Cheryl Brodie
VOLUNTEERS have handmade material bags for homeless people across Melbourne to replace the plastic bags they use to carry their self-care packs of toiletries.
“A person experiencing homelessness often does not have the money to buy extras and it is important to be able to show them thoughtfulness and kindness,” Debbie Taylor, of the Salvation Army, Mornington Corps (Church), said.
“The homemade bag gives a little more dignity to the receiver and shows that someone cares about them. Each self-care pack contains basic toiletries, as many people present to our services with nothing.”
A call out by staff who work in this field for homemade toiletry bags was promptly responded to by volunteers at the Mornington Salvation Army Corps who sewed the bags with their own sewing machines and donated material.
“The activity was positive and encouraging for everyone,” Taylor said.
“Volunteers were willing to offer assistance and it was a win-win for everyone. The receiver and the volunteer.
“The volunteers feel that they are contributing in some way to the dignity of fellow humans, and we are hoping that the homemade bag gives the receiver a sense of self-worth.”
Taylor said more people were contacting agencies as the cost of living increased and interest rates continued to rise.
“The cost of living crisis has a run-on effect on thousands of families in across Australia,” she said.
The Salvation Army uses National Homelessness Week, 7-13 August, to raise awareness about the impact of homelessness in Australia and to advocate for solutions for people at risk or experiencing homelessness.
“There are people across the Mornington Peninsula sleeping in their cars while waiting for their name to appear at the top of the government housing list,” Taylor said.
“Part of the mission of The Salvation Army is caring for people and the values of integrity and respect can be shown as simply as the gift of a homemade practical item.”
For details or to donate go to: salvationarmy.org.au
First published in the Mornington News – 25th July 2023