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Charity starts at home

Posted: 9am 24 Aug 2020

When Melissa Kennedy’s children wanted to take on a charity project, she had a idea that would help some of the most vulnerable children in our community. The result … Sweet Dreams and Goodnight Wishes.

The charitable organisation was born in January 2019 with a Facebook page and a desire to help the children Melissa encountered in her child protection work.

“I created a Facebook page and put it out there for the public (to get involved). We had an amazing response. I can’t remember exactly, but I think the first post we made was shared thousands of times,” she says.

“People got behind it straight away.”

What does Sweet Dreams and Goodnight Wishes do?

Melissa, her children and other volunteers co-ordinate and put together care packs for children about to go into foster care and others at risk.

Supporters can donate entire care packs, or a few items to be added to a pack.

What’s in the packs?

They are for children wearing sizes 2-16 and include a backpack, pyjamas, a set of clothes, underwear, socks, toothbrush, hairbrush, reading or colouring book, and soft toy.

“I think for me, it’s an even split knowing you’re helping these kids in care and providing people in the community an opportunity to help people. They really want to help,” Melissa says.

Former foster care kids, who are now adults have told her they’ve found it therapeutic to make a pack for a child they can relate to.

How it works

Melissa and her team collect the items or packs from drop-off points and distribute them.

“I work in child protection and have the contacts with foster care agencies and the department of child safety,” she explains.

It started off just being in the Moreton Bay Region, but has since expanded to Townsville, Mt Isa and the Gold Coast and now other parts of Queensland.

Last year, they compiled and distributed more than 2000 packs. So far this year, they’ve collected and distributed about 700. It’s a great effort in the middle of a global pandemic and tough economic times.

“What I’ve found is people really want to get involved and want to help and just need an avenue or someone to show them how to do it,” Melissa says.

“There have been some terrible stories in the news in relation to child safety, in recent years, and people are looking for a way to help. This program has given them the chance to do it.

“It’s something small they can do and get their kids involved,” she says.

How to get involved

The project is not running all the time, so following the group’s Facebook page is the best way to find out when the next round of collections will be happening.

Many businesses, local MPs and community groups collect items and packs on behalf of the group.

Want to know more? Head to the Facebook page

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