Clontarf students pack essential goodies for kids in foster care

Published 5:00am 14 September 2022

Clontarf students pack essential goodies for kids in foster care
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Students from Clontarf Beach State High School are giving back to their community by collecting and packing essential items that will be donated to children who are in foster care.

Students in all year levels have spent the past three terms collecting enough items to fill 48 backpacks, which will be donated to the not-for-profit organisation Hope in a Suitcase.

The school’s generosity and donation has coincided with Peninsula Respect Week – a project that was launched in 2017 with schools from across the Redcliffe peninsula and Deception Bay working together to change community attitudes.

Clontarf Beach State High School Care Coordinator Beth Ben-Karmona says it is important students learn to care for their community.

“We hope our students learn it is not always about them and it is important to give to people in need,” Beth says.

“For some of our students, they spent their first paycheck buying something for Hope in a Suitcase.”

The school has a dedicated Care Program through its four sporting houses and features different classes for students in Years 7-12.

This allows the students to maximise their personal, social and academic capabilities.

A number of students who are involved in the Care Program are pictured in the gallery below with their backpacks.

Cute, cuddly and practical donations

Teacher Shiralee Mitchell, who helped organise the donation drive, says the whole school is happy to take part.

“In the past, different classes have done individual respect programs, but after hearing about Hope in a Suitcase last year, I thought this would be something all our students could benefit from,” Shiralee says.

“It’s a cause that hit close to home, so it was important the whole school community came on board.”

Each backpack features items children who arrive in foster care will need.

“In the backpacks there are fuzzy little toys to provide kids in foster care a little extra comfort at night if they are feeling scared, as well as essential items such as toothbrushes, toiletries, clothes, games and books,” Shiralee says.

“We even had one student who made a crochet toy in her spare time, so that’s a nice, personalised gift for a child.

“We also had people donate nappies, and parents also donated items from their workplace.”

Kmart at Kippa-Ring also came on board to help.

“Kmart donated some items and also gave us some money, which we used to purchase the backpacks,” Shiralee explains.

“We would like to thank Kmart for their generosity.”

Helping kids who have nothing

Hope in a Suitcase is run by volunteers who are passionate about showing every child in the foster care system they are loved and valued by their community.

They aim to do this by giving them a suitcase of their own to ensure they have a safe and secure place in which to pack their belongings and take with them wherever their journey may lead.

For more information, or to help, visit their website.


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