BACKP CKS Helping out of home Children
By Brodie Cowburn
ackpacks 4 VIC Kids is a not-for-profit organisation determined to make a difference in the world. With children going without essential clothing and luxury items from as young as birth, Backpacks 4 VIC Kids took it upon themselves to try and bring about positive change. Their packs are aimed at kids who are entering out-of-home care and emergency accommodation, and in need of essential items to get them through their day-to-day life. Created for ages 0-17, Backpacks 4 VIC Kids offers a variety of different backpacks suitable for any child who might be in need. "Children are often moved or displaced from their homes quickly, and they are often relocated with nothing more than what they’re wearing at the time, so we make sure that they have some clean clothes, sleepwear, toiletries, and more to make sure they feel comfortable,” said founder Sally Ritter. “These common relocations, especially in emergency situations, often leave the child with nothing. What we do is give these items to the children, so they have their own belongings. When they do get moved they get to take their soft toy, their blanket, and their backpack with them.” For the youngest children, they offer packs including disposable nappies, baby wipes, a feeding bottle, a bib, a dummy, sets of clothes, a teddy, and more. For toddlers they also include a blanket in addition to soap, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. For older kids, their packs are full of many items, including toiletries, clothes, sleepwear, stationery, and a torch to help make their stay in a new home a little less daunting. 10
Peninsula Kids – Autumn 2018
Backpacks 4 VIC Kids is growing each year, and in 2017 easily surpassed the number of packs they had handed out the previous year. By the conclusion of 2017, Backpacks 4 VIC Kids has donated a total of nearly 4000 backpacks. Of all those packs delivered, over 260 went to children based on the Mornington Peninsula who had been re-homed, helping them with the process of being placed in an unfamiliar environment. Recently, Backpacks 4 VIC Kids also started an initiative called Christmas 4 Kids in Care, which saw free gifts provided to children in out-of-home care. Close to 1000 children received gifts for Christmas, courtesy of the organisation.
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Peninsula Kids Autumn 2018