Baby booties, tooth paste, blankets and jumpers. They may be ordinary everyday items most of us take for granted, but to the many families ANGLICARE helps, it can make a difference.
For the past 14 years 87 year old Vera Abell from the Anglican Retirement Village in Castle Hill has been coordinating a group of people who have been collecting Tarago loads of items that could be useful for families who turn to ANGLICARE for support.
Known as the Beatrice Ellen Abell group, or the BEA group for short, the mostly retired volunteers meet once a month at Vera’s home in Mowll Village to bring in what they’ve made or bought to be picked up by ANGLICARE’s Family Services team.
Their work is the continuation of what Vera’s mother, Beatrice Abell, had started many years ago making and collecting more than 9,200 items to help ANGLICARE’s Family Support Service in Mt Druitt.
Since 1998, the group has donated more than 24,000 items and what started as a small group in Cheltnam has also expanded to include groups from Wentworth Falls, Mortdale and Cambridge Park.
From socks to face washers, baskets to pillow slips, Vera’s dinning room over flows with odds and ends that could one day come in handy for a family that comes to ANGLICARE in need.
For ANGLICARE Family Support worker Angela Jones, the monthly donation is an important part to the work she does at the Mt Druitt community care centre.
“The BEA group is just amazing. Their dedication, love and support are invaluable. It may be a simple care package to many of us, but it can make a difference to the people we support.
“Family support often sees people in crisis. Sometimes people may have lost everything. Something as simple as tooth brushes, toothpaste and towels that may be too expensive to get on a very tight budget, has been useful to many families.”
The donations have also been used as gifts on special days like Mothers Day, Fathers day and Christmas. Some of the donated baby bundles have been helpful for new mothers and their babies.
Angela adds that the community support shown through the donations is a great encouragement to the people she assists. The number of items and the range of donations is just staggering, each month it seems to increase with an average of just over 400 items per month
“Even though our clients may never meet the members of the BEA group, it has been good to know that there are people out in our community that cares for them.”
For more information or support, contact ANGLICARE Mt Druitt on 02 8805 0900.