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Gift-filled backpacks for Goldfields children in foster care

A local foster carer, together with the support of the community, has developed a project that will see individual backpacks filled with gifts and necessities given to children in the foster care system.

Stacey Collins of Sparkle Bake ‘n’ Pop started the project in March using money raised through her homemade paint-your-own cookie sets to fund the project.

Originally expecting to create about 10 bags through the money raised from the cookies, Mrs Collins has so far put together about 40 bags thanks to the “overwhelming” support of other local businesses and residents.

And the project does not seem to be slowing down, with Mrs Collins saying more and more donations were being dropped off every other day.

Stacey Collins with backpacks to be donated to children in the foster care system.
Camera IconStacey Collins with backpacks to be donated to children in the foster care system. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

Mrs Collins was inspired to develop the project after successfully being awarded guardianship of her foster child Raven McKenzie earlier this year.

As she steps back slightly from foster caring for a while, Mrs Collins said she wanted to do something nice for the children who were still coming into care.

“These children are coming in with absolutely nothing,” she said.

“Imagine that feeling for them, you’re a kid, you’re in trauma, you’ve just entered someone’s house and they are kind to you — probably the first kindness in a long time -—and they give you the necessities.

“But then you get something else, this bag, that isn’t from them and it’s yours. That just hits different.”

The bags have been filled with items for various age groups — newborns, 1 to 4, 5 to 11, and 12 to 18.

Children’s packs all include a drink bottle, toiletries, stationery, a book, something to cuddle and a gift or toy, as well as extras that have been provided through various donations.

The newborn packs include nappies and wipes, formula, bottles, onesies, bibs and wraps.

Mrs Collins said she was not sure if she would continue the project on an ongoing basis, or yearly, but she was happy to continue to accept donations for the time being.

To find out more, or to donate, visit the Sparkle Bake ‘n’ Pop Facebook page.

Through the project, Mrs Collins said she had also been able to spread the conversation about the importance of foster carers and hoped she may help boost the number of carers here in Kalgoorlie-Boulder through those conversations.

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