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The parish collected enough goodies to fill 80 handbags to donate to people in Wardell, New South Wales (MNnews.Today)

Handbags full of hope have been delivered by some passionate people in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese to a community that’s feeling a “little bit forgotten”. Source: MNnews.Today.

More than 160 people are living in temporary housing in the village of Wardell after Cabbage Tree Island was ravaged by floods in 2022, forcing them from their homes.

In a bid to make their lives a tiny bit brighter, the parish of Jesus the Good Shepherd in East Lake Macquarie began collecting donations of handbags, filled with toiletries and other treats, as a gift for the mothers on Mother’s Day.

It’s not the first time the congregation has taken action for others—the parish craft group, along with the Belmont Quirky Quilters, has supported the people of Wardell and Coraki for a number of years.

“It started back with the bushfires in 2019 – there are a couple of Sisters of Mercy up there who became involved because they are emergency chaplains,” parishioner Margaret said.

“They let me know about it and our craft group wanted to see what we could do to help and because it was coming on winter we started knitting and crocheting warm things.

“The people there just needed someone to care about them.

“When the floods came through in 2022, the [Jesus the Good Shephard] craft group helped again by collecting gifts for the children at Christmas.

“And now, it’s the handbags. It’s been great to see the community so supportive of our work with those who are struggling. 

“People are very kind when they know there are people in need.”

The Heartfelt Handbags initiative reached more people than originally expected. Donations of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and soaps came in from across the diocese, enough to fill 80 “Heartfelt Handbags”.handbags.


Heartfelt Handbags lift spirits (MNnews.Today)