News Release

Charlestown Service Gives Dignity to Women In Need


Gathering bits and pieces to contribute to 'Share the Dignity - It's in the Bag Campaign,' was the goal of a group of generous Relief Society women (women's organisation) from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the last couple of months. These sisters from the Charlestown Ward (congregation) of the Newcastle Australia Stake (diocese) chose this activity as a way to bless those in need and to 'Light Their Community' this Christmas season.

The 'Share the Dignity' project is an opportunity to grab old handbags out of our wardrobes and fill them with women’s essentials and small gifts to be donated to women who are homeless or in poverty during Christmas. There are around 105,000 homeless people in Australia.  Of that number, 44% are female and 17,845 are children.

This important campaign is Australia-wide and commences from around mid-November and ends 2nd December with collection points at Bunnings locations. Many beautiful stories are found on the campaign's website from women who have received these bags. 

Missing out on the project's deadline last year motivated the women of the Charlestown Ward this year. This year they got started early in order to not miss out on a great cause and to  be able to get on top of weekly specials for essential items. Everyone was able to contribute one way or another, some of the more senior sisters spent time sewing wash bags as well as to place items inside the handbags.

This experience was a great example of women supporting women. Natalie Latu shared, "I recall shopping for some extra items and as I was browsing the aisle for sale prices, the hymn 'Because I have Been Given Much' came clearly to the forefront of my thoughts. In that moment I knew that what we had asked the sisters to sacrifice in time and money right before Christmas was the right thing to do. It has set off a pattern of service for my family in particular and opened up conversations regarding our service both within and outside the home."

The sisters' group was able to put together 31 bags to contribute to this campaign and look forward to improving their efforts next year.  They hope to invite the women in neighbouring stakes, as well as in the local community to participate with them in the future.

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