When the team at SJD Homes met with Sally Ritter, the founder of ‘Backpacks 4 Vic Kids’, and heard that in 2013-2014 in Victoria alone, 3,210 children were placed in out-of-home care, it certainly pulled at the heart strings.
Sally explained that children are placed quickly into foster care or emergency accommodation without much more than what they are wearing at the time which can be a very frightening and stressful time for them. As a past foster carer herself, some of the stories Sally told were heartbreaking.
‘Backpacks 4 Vic Kids’ provide quality backpacks and nappy bags to children aged 0-17 years, entering foster care in Victoria. Backpacks or nappy bags contain size and gender appropriate contents including essential items (such as toiletries), clothing, PJ’s, a torch, blanket and a toy or activity which will belong to the child, and will stay with them should they be relocated helping them to settle and feel more secure.
In 2015 ‘Backpacks 4 Vic Kids’ delivered 732 backpacks. Demand has grown dramatically and to date this year they have delivered 1300 packs to children in need. They operate solely on donations sought through fundraising, grants and sponsorship. After hearing this, the team at SJD Homes wanted to help. Staff now bring in items to donate for the backpacks and a ‘Live Band’ fundraising night was held which raised over $9,800. (Thank you to all who came to the fundraiser and who donated. It was a fantastic night of great music, dancing and supporting a great cause!).
The estimated cost of a backpack is $50, so the money will be used to purchase items for more backpacks and also help go towards the $29,000 that goes towards one year’s rent and overheads of their current premises (which they have already outgrown!).
‘Backpacks 4 Vic Kids’ are a registered Not For Profit charitable organisation run by volunteers and provide valuable support to children in need. If anyone would like to help ‘Backpacks 4 Vic Kids’ continue to support more frightened and needy children, please visit their website to see how you can help: www.backpacks4vickids.org.au or call 0412 205 943. You can also help create awareness by liking their facebook page.