A fulltime community volunteer has stepped up to the mark to help provide necessities for women in need this Christmas.
Laura Wood is running It's In The Bag in the Tauranga area as part of a nationwide campaign that aims to provide necessities to women in need during the Christmas period.
The campaign got its name through the fact that all donations are delivered to women in a handbag.
The donations from the Tauranga area would be split between the Tauranga Women's Refuge, Awhina House, and other organisations that work with women in need.
Wood also volunteers with Under The Stars, a local homeless charity, and has been the Tauranga co-ordinator for It's In The Bag since 2018.
She said she was drawn to the campaign because she felt that while there was a lot of attention given to children in similar situations, she wanted to do something for their mums, especially at Christmas time.
"It looked like a really positive way to give back to the community and to show people, especially women, in need that there are other people out there that care about their situation and help them have nice Christmas," she said.
"Children are looked after through lots of different charities ... a lot of the mums are out there trying to protect their children and they spend a lot of time and energy on that so they don't always look after themselves."
Wood said because of the high stresses associated with the Christmas season and the financial difficulties many families got into around this time of year, it was important to support the women's refuge and Awhina House.
"Christmas time is a high-stress, high-need time for many women and lots of domestic violence unfortunately seems to go hand-in-hand with the season ... it's a way to show some love and support for the people who need it," she said.
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The campaign started on November 10 and runs until December 1.
The campaign is looking for necessities, such as sanitary items, deodorants, toothbrushes, and toothpaste, as well as small luxury items such as lipstick or a fiction book that could be a "pick-me-up" for the recipient.
Donations should preferably be delivered in a handbag - Wood said it did not matter if the bag was second-hand.
Tauranga Women's' Refuge manager Hazel Hape said the families who used the refuge were grateful for all donations they received.
"We always appreciate being able to receive gifts of kindness, generosity, and love from the community," she said.
"Our experience has been that any gift ... from the Tauranga community has always been appreciated by the refuge and the families that it serves.
"Every year, we have an exceptional culture of generosity and kindness in Tauranga."
Hape said helpful donations at the moment would be clothing and toiletries, considering it is coming up to summer.
Ideas for donations for It's in the Bag:
- Sanitary items
- Nail polish/lipstick/makeup
- hair products
It's In The Bag's Bay of Plenty collections points are in Tauranga and Rotorua. To organise a dropoff, email Laura Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org.