The Big Give is an event supporting central Victorian community groups. The Bendigo Advertiser will be profiling several of the registered campaigns each week until the initiative ends with a 24-hour giving day on September 1.
For 20 years, the Zonta Club of Bendigo has been making and filling toiletry packs for women and children in emergencies.
Club stalwart Annette Mouat has handmade bags for the 250 toiletry packs the club donates each year for more than 10 years.
“I started recording how many bags I made in 2010 and have made 1551 bags so far since then,” she said.
“Each bag contains from three to seven different pieces of fabric - the lower three quarters is rubber-backed curtain fabric and the top quarter is softer, finer fabric, which makes it easier to draw the bag closed.
“It takes about half an hour to make each bag, sometimes more, as I search amid my off-cuts, scraps and donations from friends to find fabrics that complement each other to try and make the bags look attractive.”
The packs include basic toiletries and are distributed through the Centre for Non-Violence, Haven; Home, Safe and Annie North Women’s Refuge.
Drought and bushfire affected women and Indigenous women in Mildura have been recipients of packs.
Fundraising committee chair Lyn McNamara said it was difficult for the club to meet the growing demand for toiletry packs.
“The club needs to raise an additional $5000 each year to supply the toiletries, valued at around $20 for each bag,” she said.
Money for supplies is raised by the Zonta Club of Bendigo, with assistance from the community.
The bags are donated by Mrs Mouat.
Club toiletry pack coordinator Chris Thorne has been collating and purchasing the supplies for about 10 years.
Crusoe College has supported the project by donating more than $1000 to the cause last year.
They are working on collecting supplies again this year.
“Likewise, AFS Accounting will support our toiletry pack initiative with the proceeds from casual cash days at their office,” Ms McNamara said.
“The Big Give is a fantastic way to supplement the kind donations made by these two groups for our project.”
The Zonta Emergency Toiletry Packs campaign aims to raise $6000.
The Big Give started on August 1 and ends on September 1.
The initiative culminates in a community giving day, when almost 70 causes will be eligible for a share in a $30,000 prize pool.
The Zonta Club of Bendigo was founded in 1980 and is committed to serving women and children.
Meetings are on the first Tuesday of the month, except in January and March.