Year 9 students lead successful Christmas drive

DONATION: Eve Clark and Jordan Ganley, Year 9 students from St Mark's College holding donations from one of the bags.

DONATION: Eve Clark and Jordan Ganley, Year 9 students from St Mark's College holding donations from one of the bags.

Women across Port Pirie and Port Augusta are being supported by local students who decided to partake in Share the Dignity’s ‘It’s in the bag’  Christmas drive which helps women who have fled from domestic violence or experienced extreme poverty. 

In donated bags, the female Year 9 students from St Mark’s have packed essential items including pads, tampons, shampoo, conditioner, a toothbrush and toothpaste in addition to several extra gifts which range from stationary to perfume and other cosmetic items. 

This is the first year the school have run a donation drive for Share the Dignity and organising teacher, Jess Byerlee says that instead of just giving money, they wanted to do something a little bit more meaningful.

“The girls were really passionate about doing something for women in need because it aligns really well with the Right Journey program that we run”, she explained. 

“This is the first time that we have done it and the Share the Dignity is nation wide and I believe that they have had thousands of thousands of bags donated. I am sure it would brighten up many peoples’ day, particularly women and knowing that it goes to women locally makes it more special for the girls.” 

The students have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the drive from the wider community, with the girls aiming to fill 50 bags and having so far already filled 60 bags. 

Jess believes that they were able to successfully engage the students with the drive, rather than through the fundraising and she is thrilled with how much they have all achieved. 

“They have been fantastic. When they heard it wasn’t just fundraising but also buying the products and driving the donations of the products they were really excited.”

“They went home to their families and their friends and we were then inundated with donations from them. That made it even more exciting.” 

Participating students Brianna Taylor and Quinn Lane have said their families and friends were just as dedicated as they were to helping local women. 

“They were really helpful actually, we have so many donations- so much stuff! They were really proud that we were doing a concern like this for homeless women, they thought it was a really good idea because they know how hard it can be to go through”, Quinn explained. 

Motivated to put smiles on people’s faces heading into the Christmas, the girls are glad that what they are doing will have an immediate impact on people that they may or may not know. 

“We have raised about $400 and we took that money and went out in groups and bought things for the bags. We really thank everyone that has helped out and the support we have had for everything, we really appreciate it”, Brianna said.