Wish Bag for Local Community – Sunday, December 9, 2012
“‘Wow’ was the phrase of the day.”
“… every year it’s just a great thing to do.” ~ Carla
Message from our Chair of Wish Bag Committee, S.I. Vancouver:
S.I. Vancouver has for many years created “Ditty Bags” that contained the bare necessities (toiletries) for women’s shelters and other areas of need. As more organizations were offering help to areas we traditionally covered, we ended up with product and nowhere for it to go. A long, long time ago when WISH was operating out of the Hastings/Gore location I remembered the ladies who always welcomed my donation of make-up and girly stuff and I spoke with Kate from WISH who told me about a Christmas party where 125 women would be in attendance. Could we provide 125 bags? You bet we could.
My goal was a bag of necessities and a little ‘extra’. As a confessed shopper I provided the first 125 pieces of ‘bling’ and almost all the make-up that went into the bags. We used 12×12″ bags and did our best to fill them by adding to the traditional list of: shampoo, conditioner, soap, body lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, pen & paper by adding something warm, a candy cane, Kleenex, bling, make-up, samples and as much girly stuff we could find.
When Kate arrived to pick up the 125 bags, she had a Christmas tree in her car and it was a little car. I just started laughing and told her she had to come and see the bags. Obviously she was expecting 125 little bags instead of something that took up a room full of floor space! So thanks to others who had vehicles that day, we loaded all our cars and delivered the bags to the coordinator’s home for safe keeping. “Wow” was the phrase of the day.
The bags have gotten bigger and we had added a magazine, a large item (toiletry or girly gift), perfume and make-up samples, and enough items to fill our now donated reusable bag (thanks YVR). This year we had 21 stations to stop at while filling the bag… and they get picked up in a Van!
It takes a year to collect the basic products we used in the bags we create for the women at WISH. It is December 15 and I have already been given a box of items that were too late for this year’s donation but in perfect time to start for next year. I’m blessed to work in an office environment for a few reasons; others who share the gift with purchase craze (great way to get new lipsticks for the bags), donations from many and room under my desk to store it! Now that there are others in the club who are able to help collect items, by the time we are ready to make the bags we do not have to do much shopping. Thanks to dentists we are slowly getting enough toothpaste and toothbrushes together – they are the most expensive items to purchase so this definitely helps us.
This year we had enough product to fill the 125 bags for the WISH Christmas party; 18 more for the young women at Imouto; and we were able to add gloves and a toothbrush to the 70+ “Kiddy Bags” (reader bag contains a book and stuffed toy) for the youngest kids at Queen Alexandra Elementary. Thanks to all that donated and a special thanks to those that came out to set it all up before we put the bags together. Every year it gets a little easier to pull this off and every year it’s just a great thing to do.
Chair of Wish Bag Committee, S.I. Vancouver
Because of your contribution and help..
We have made 125 WISH BAGS to WISH Drop-in Centre Society & 18 WISH BAGS to Imouto Housing for Young Women. Both are located in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
We have also packed and delivered 76 BOOK BAGS that contained a book, snuggly, gloves, crayons pencil and toothbrush in each bag to children at Queen Alexandra School.
WISH Drop-in Centre Society: Operated by women for the exclusive use of female survival sex workers, the WISH Drop-In Centre Society is a registered non-profit society that furnishes a variety of services within a nurturing and non-judgemental environment.
- Vancouver drop-in centre ramps up services with cash influx following missing women report – “The Vancouver Sun” – December 19, 2012
Imouto Housing for Young Women: Girls and young women who are homeless or in unsafe housing face enormous challenges and risks, including violence/abuse, gender exploitation, substance use practices, racism, poverty, pregnancy, poor physical health and barriers to accessing support and services.