For the past 4 years, ETC staff from Taree and Tuncurry have generously donated essential items to a local domestic violence support provider, the Taree Women’s Refuge.
The Women’s Refuge is a service that provides short-term crisis accommodation and outreach to women and children who have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence.
“The support that ETC has given us is just invaluable because we can give these Christmas staples to families in need,” said Zara Gilkison from Taree Women’s Refuge.
This heart-warming idea was initially thought up after ETC’s Work Experience Coordinator June Bulmer was contacted by the Refuge for some outdoor maintenance assistance.
Apart of June’s role with ETC involves coordinating group-based work experience activities for job seekers.
She sourced some suitable participants to assist with moving a sandpit from one side of the yard to the other, to provide more shade for children staying and playing at the Refuge.
The relationship between ETC and the Women’s Refuge continued from there.
During another group-based activity, participants made pieces of furniture and different items out of recycled pallets.
“They group decided to make the pallets into a Christmas tree, which they then donated to the Women’s Refuge,” said June.
“This is where the idea came from to start donating essential items to the Refuge during the Christmas season each year.”
June sought advice from the Refuge to see what other items they would benefit from.
“They said that cleaning products and hygiene products were always the most costly items; and would greatly appreciate if we could donate those essential items,” explained June.
Since then, each year using their own money, ETC staff have purchased groceries, toys, and anything extra that might make life a little easier for people staying at the Refuge.
The donations are thoughtfully packaged up into reusable washing baskets, tubs, and bags.
Inspired by staff’s act of kindness and to maintain its Philanthropic Commitment, ETC donated $2000 to the Refuge to further help local families affected by domestic violence.
“These donations take some pressure off for families using our services, and create a bit of joy at a time that is often a difficult and transitional time for mum and the kids,” said Zara.
Sadly, domestic and family violence is a leading cause of homelessness in Australia.
With the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey (PSS) indicating that 1 in 6 women over 15 have experienced domestic violence by a current or previous partner.
Community services such as Samaritans, who run the Taree Women’s Shelter, provide clients help with advocacy, urgent accommodation, complex housing issues, outreach and offer confidential and safe support.
“I’m grateful that we have the opportunity to help these families, who have had to flee from their homes, virtually with only the clothes on their back,” said June.
“It’s been a great initiative that I’m proud to be a part of, it makes us feel good to be able to help the community and give something back to people in need.”
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