A local charity is appealing for donations of essential items ahead of Christmas to create care packages for domestic violence survivors.
I Got Your Back Pack founder Anita Hinton, herself a survivor of domestic violence, says many people fleeing an abusive relationship do not have the time or luxury to stop and collect the bare essentials.
"As a survivor of domestic violence, I found myself in that position six years ago. The packs represent everything I really wished I had in those moments," she told The AM Show on Thursday.
The Auckland-based charity has launched a collection drive and needs everyday essentials to create its care-packs, given to New Zealanders preparing to leave an abusive relationship.
When Hinton escaped six years ago, she didn't even have a toothbrush - or a teddy for her young daughter.
"I just grabbed my daughter," she shared. "I really wished I had a toothbrush. Not having those basic essentials really makes you feel worthless. For my daughter, it was a teddy bear and reading books."
I Got Your Back Pack has packs catering to both men and women, and offers essentials for children and newborns aged up to two years.
Hinton says demand for the packs has risen dramatically this year, as New Zealanders were required to remain at home amid the recurrent COVID-19 outbreaks. There have been concerns that instances of family violence would rise due to heightened uncertainty and anxiety regarding finances and employment, with the country's two lockdowns forcing businesses to shut-up-shop - and requiring Kiwis to remain confined in their homes with relatives or partners.
"We found, especially with the first COVID [outbreak], that we had an increase in requests for care packs," Hinton said.
"Last year we did 2500 care packs, and this year we've just gone over 3500."
With Christmas just two weeks away, Hinton urges New Zealanders to get behind a good cause - and help make an already difficult decision a little easier.
"I say it's a backpack, but it's actually a backpack full of hope," she said.
"It's something little to say, 'we've got your back - you're really important, the world needs you and someone really cares'."
Products to donate (new products only)
- Sanitary products
- Individually wrapped herbal tea bags
- Toothbrush (individuals)
- Women's roll-on deodorant (no sprays/aerosols)
- Individually wrapped coffee sachets
- Muesli or protein Bars
- Face flannels
- Disposal razors
- Lip balm
- 'Treat toiletries': Face moisturiser, hand cream, unopened hotel toiletries, etc.
- Toothbrush (individuals)
- Lunchboxes (1.5L or smaller)
- Drink bottles (BPA free)
- Small colouring pencil sets
- Activity packs, stickers or colouring books
- Small toys (Hotwheels-size cars, Sparklz or Barbie dolls, mini Lego sets, yoyos, fidget spinners, etc)
- Travel-size games or puzzles
- Reading books (suitable for ages 5-8).
- Baby face Flannels
- Baby hats*
- Baby bibs
- Baby wash
- Baby shampoo
- Baby soap
- Nappy rash cream
- Baby cups*
- Breast pads
- *Sizes: 0+month (newborn); 3+month; 6+month; 8+ month; 1 year; 18 month and 2 year.
- Shaving foam
- Men's roll-on deodorant
- Drink bottle
- Men's face cleaner
- Men's face moisturiser
- Men's work socks (sizes 6-10, 11+)
- Razor set (a reusable razor with extra blades)
Click here for a list of drop-off points to deliver your donations.
You can also make a monetary donation here.