Buddy Bags go international thanks to serendipitous Jetstar flight
When passengers flick through an in-flight magazine, they rarely get inspired to start a new charity initiative. But for UK-based Karen Williams, a Jetstar flight from Sydney last January was all she needed to start helping thousands of British children. Ms Williams, was instantly intrigued after reading about the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’ Buddy Bags program while visiting her son in Sydney.
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s Buddy Bags program was initially launched in response to an overwhelming need to provide basic, essential items to children in emergency accommodation.
Every year in Australia, more than 60,000 children find themselves in emergency accommodation. But as a result of the Buddy Bags program, the Foundation has now distributed more than 60,000 bags to children via refuges and foster care agencies around the country, these children often arrive with only the clothes they are wearing.
The backpacks include basic items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, pyjamas, socks, underwear, a facewasher and a pillowcase, as well as comfort items such as a reading book, activity kit, photo frame and teddy bear. On her return to the UK, Ms Williams contacted the Alannah & Madeline Foundation seeking permission to start The Buddy Bag Foundation, through her operation, the Live Love Laugh Foundation.
She has since sent more than 1,600 Buddy Bags to 49 women’s and children’s refuges across the Midlands region and hopes to dispatch 20,200 bags by 2020. The Alannah & Madeline Foundation CEO Dr Judith Slocombe said the need for Buddy Bags was not just limited to Australia. Dr Slocombe said the Foundation was proud that its initiative was now helping children on the other side of the world and hoped more countries would continue to adopt the unique and essential program.
“Buddy Bags have helped so many Australian children and we think it’s wonderful that they are making a difference on the other side of the world,” Dr Slocombe said.
Ms Williams said she was instantly struck by the Buddy Bags concept after seeing it in the Jetstar Magazine and knew it was something that could be implemented in her community.
“It brings together wonderful people who donate their skills, time and money to the effort to ensure the bags are packed correctly and promptly, to assist children in need,” Ms Williams said.
For more information about the Alannah & Madeline Foundation and Buddy Bags go to www.amf.org.au.
Media inquiries contact Adrian Bernecich: 03 9697 0683, 0416 045 701 or email@example.com.
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