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Hundreds of care packs to bring smiles to children in Queensland foster care

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A Brisbane mum and her daughter have donated more than 300 care packs to Anglicare Southern Queensland’s foster care services

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A Brisbane mum and her daughter have donated more than 300 care packs to Anglicare Southern Queensland’s foster care services.

Melissa Hanning and her mum Vickie Hanning started the care pack initiative last year, providing more than 2000 care packs to children in foster care all across Queensland.

“It was developed through conversations with my children who wanted to do some charity work and do some work to help the community,” Melissa said.

“So because I work in child protection, I knew there was a need out there so when children enter foster care quite often they do so at short notice and under fairly traumatic circumstances.

“We knew it would be important for them to have a bag that has those items in there for them, for their first night in foster care.”

The items in the bag consist of a clean pair of pyjamas, a fresh set of clothes for the next day, toothbrush and toothpaste, a hair brush, hair ties, a book to read and a soft toy to cuddle.

Although COVID-19 has put a strain on businesses and organisations, Melissa and her mum were surprised with the outpouring of support this year with just over 900 care bags donated in six weeks.

“When COVID-19 hit we were quite understanding that people in the community were under stress and under financial pressure and that we probably wouldn’t get as many care bags as we have previously got,” Melissa said.

“We were just so surprised and thankful to get over 900 care bags over a period of a few weeks.”

Melissa thanked all the businesses and organisations and families who helped donate items for children in foster care.

“We get lots of businesses and organisations who offer to be drop off points for us. What we find is that quite often we get childcare centres, schools or businesses who run their own little collections within their communities,” she said.

“We’re just so thankful and grateful to all the organisations and all the individuals who donated items and care bags for us.”

The care bags are donated to all foster care agencies and child safety officers all over Queensland, all the way from the Gold Coast, up to Townsville and all the way up to Mount Isa.

Hundreds of care packs have been donated to Anglicare Southern Queensland’s foster care services

Tiffany Berg of Anglicare Southern Queensland said she was very grateful for the care packs which will bring a smile to more than 300 foster care children in its many services.

“About three weeks ago we received a call from Melissa who was running a program to collect backpacks for foster care kids in Queensland,” Tiffany said.

“We were very excited when we got the call to say she was going to donate 300 backpacks to kids in foster care.

“We’re basically sending the backpacks all across Southern Queensland, we’ve been doing trips to the Gold Coast, to the Sunshine Coast, to Brisbane, to Logan and to farmers out west. They’re going everywhere.”

Tiffany said the backpacks will mean a lot to those in foster care.

“The kids in foster care have a little bit of a rough trot and when they come into care it’s really great for them to have a backpack so they have ownership of something straight away, so inside the backpacks are toys and pyjamas, they’re things that make kids feel like they’re at home,” she said.

“It brings the kids a little bit of excitement in a time that can be really sad for them.

“Mel, I just want to say a huge thank you from everyone at Anglicare Southern Queensland and from all the kids that will get to be blessed to get these backpacks that you have collected.

“The backpacks are amazing and filled with so many amazing items and I can just imagine the joy that the kids will feel  when they get them, so thank you from everyone at Anglicare Southern Queensland.

To find out more on how you can get involved, you can head to their Facebook page at Sweet Dreams and Goodnight wishes.

First published on the Anglicare Southern Queensland website on 16 October 2020.

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