A volunteer-run campaign is again appealing to the Bendigo community to help some of the region's most vulnerable residents with donations of toiletries.
"We supply them to organisations that look after families in Bendigo and the surrounding regions," Share the Dignity's regional coordinator, Lauren Read, said.
Some of the groups that rely on public generosity to provide their female clients these bathroom essentials are The Orange Door, Sunshine Bendigo, Bendigo Community Health Service and the Centre for Non-Violence.
Share the Dignity had this year received pre-Christmas requests from eight organisations for bags for 1500 women, Ms Read said.
"I reckon we have about 150 so far."
Volunteer Janet O'Brien first got involved with the campaign five years ago when she saw a post on Facebook that made her realise she had taken her access to self-care products completely for granted.
"Sometimes when the charities tell you stories about the women who need the bags, you come away crying," she said.
"It's not nice that people would need this but the fact is they do."
Ms Read said demand for the bags had steadily increased in the Bendigo region over the last few years.
"Given the cost of living crisis that many are facing right now, more and more people are reaching out for help - some that have never needed help before."
She said the campaign brought the community together in "an extraordinary way", with local businesses, schools and groups of friends pulling together to pack bags and reflect on the situation for vulnerable women.
The organisation, which has been operating here since 2016, was always "blown away" by the love and consideration that was put into every bag donated in Bendigo, Ms Read said.
"And we know how grateful our recipients are - for some, it is the only Christmas present they will receive this year.
"But it's not just about the bag and its contents - you're also letting that person know that someone in their community cares. For someone going through their darkest days, that can be the greatest gift of all."
Bags or individual toiletry items can be dropped off at any Bunnings Epsom or Kangaroo Flat - or any Bunnings store nationwide - until Sunday, November 26.
Toilet bags should contain a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, roll-on deodorant and period products, and optionally, extra items such as lip balm, socks or a handwritten note.
Donations of loose essentials, like shampoo, conditioner and baby wash were also appreciated, Ms Read said.
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