Bags donated for festive joy

Bryce Eishold

Young people at Morwell’s Latrobe Valley Flexible Learning Option will have a brighter Christmas this year thanks to the generosity of some of the region’s power station workers.

Almost 150 bags were yesterday donated to the school by AGL Loy Yang and will be given to both male and female students, and Kurnai College’s teen mum’s program to spread some Christmas cheer.

AGL Loy Yang acting general manager Nigel Browne said the bags contained essential sanitary items and a special gift or two.

Items include soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush, deodorant and shampoo and special items including paper and pens, and hats and scarves.

“It’s fantastic that our employees have supported this initiative by donating enough items to supply 80 teen boy bags, 46 teen girl bags, 20 teen mum bags and two new mum/baby bags,” Mr Browne said.

Donation bins were placed around the mine where employees and contractors from BMC could donate essential items for young people in time for Christmas.

The initiative to pack the items in handbags came from charity organisation Share the Dignity which fills disused handbags with essential sanitary items to donate to those less fortunate.

Share the Dignity’s Wendy Appleton described the organisation’s purpose like the Kmart

Wishing Tree but for women and teenage girls.

“FLO signed up with us to receive sanitary products during our April and August drive and the partnership has just grown from there,” Ms Appleton said.

Every student at the school will receive a bag at a special Christmas lunch before the end of the term.

Latrobe Valley FLO teacher Daina Hughes said the bags could be the only present some young people would receive this year.

“A lot of our students come from low socio-economic backgrounds, and families in general are struggling enough around this time of the year as it is,” Ms Hughes said.

“These items are what they need and all the students are really grateful. Last year was the first year we did it and they said it made them feel really special and thankful.”

About 20 participants and their children in the Kurnai Young Mum’s program will receive a bag as well.