It is well known that helping others generally increases our own well being. However, did you know that this belief is backed up by research?
In a study published in Nature Communications, it was demonstrated that acts of altruism, such as giving money or items of use to those in need, makes us happier and more fulfilled.
One of the most altruistic times of the year is Christmas. For the most part this means we all spend a bunch of money on presents for our family and friends. However, Christmas is also the time of the year that we give most to those we don’t know. The vulnerable, disadvantaged folk who need a gentle hand to help them along the way.
Share The Dignity
For the last few years, I have been supporting the Share The Dignity: It’s In The Bag campaign.
Share The Dignity is an Australian charity that makes a real, on-ground difference to homeless women and victims of domestic violence.
In Australia, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 16 men have suffered from physical and/or sexual violence from a current or former partner. Furthermore, each year 1 in 42 women aged 15-24 access specialist homelessness services.
Not surprisingly, domestic violence is a leading contributor to homelessness for women in this Country. A study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that between 2011-2014, 36% of people who accessed specialist homelessness services did so due to domestic violence.
Share The Dignity believes that all women deserve dignity and justice. Consequently, the charity focuses on maintaining womens dignity in small ways during times of homelessness, through the provision of free female hygiene products to those in need.
It’s In The Bag
The It’s In The Bag campaign is Share The Dignity’s flagship annual Christmas campaign.
Running for two weeks at the end of November each year, the campaign aims to collect as many bags as possible to distribute to women who are homeless, at-risk, or experiencing domestic violence.
The charity relies on the public to donate bags to the campaign for distribution to those in need. These bags can be new or second-hand handbags or backpacks, filled with everyday essentials such as toothpaste, toothbrush, pads, tampons, deodorant, moisturiser, etc. Additionally, for a little pick-me-up, the campaign encourages the inclusion of notes and cards with kind messages for the receiver.
This Year’s Campaign
This year’s campaign ran between 16 November to 2 December, with collection points at each Bunnings store throughout the Country. A recent tweet from Share The Dignity indicated that 100,000 bags were donated to this year’s campaign.
This year I put two bags together myself, with items I’d bought in bulk throughout the year, and received another from a work colleague for the campaign. In each of these bags we included deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brush, hair brush, face wipes, pads, tampons, shampoo, conditioner, soap, moisturiser, tissues and a kind note.
These bags will go to someone in need and will help brighten up someone’s day this Christmas.
How to get involved
If Share The Dignity sounds like a cause that’s close to your heart, there’s many ways you can get involved.
As outlined above, the It’s In The Bag campaign runs in November of each year. Other ways to get involved include:
- financial donations to assist with funerals for domestic violence victims;
- donating products for dignity vending machines; or
- donating female hygiene products to the dignity drive (which is run twice a year).
Alternatively, check out Share The Dignity’s website to find out how you can get involved.