Handbags roll in for Grace appeal

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GRATITUDE: Handbags of all colours and sizes are coming in for the 2024 Love Grace Appeal, co-ordinated in Mid Canterbury by Beauty Worx Day & Medi Spa owner Eliza Waszczak.
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Giving to a great cause is a good feeling, says Eliza Waszczak.

The Beauty Worx Day & Medi Spa owner is co-ordinating the 2024 Love Grace Appeal in Mid Canterbury.

The international domestic violence appeal is held each year in memory of Grace Millane, a 21-year-old United Kingdom resident who was strangled to death while on holiday in Auckland in 2018 by her Tinder date.

The appeal began in New Zealand in 2020. It collects new and good quality preloved hand bags filled with useful supplies for women escaping family violence.

A regular supporter of the appeal, Waszczak noticed the BNZ bank was not coordinating it in Ashburton this year as it had done in previous years. She decided to put her hand up.

Waszczak said it was the right thing to do.

‘‘Giving to such a great cause is a good feeling,’’ she said.

People are asked to support the appeal by filling the handbags with new items such as tooth paste and brush, shower gel, shampoo and conditioners, deodorants and sanitary products.

Extra luxury items like wipes, tissues, plasters, soap, hand gel, lip balm, brushes, combs, cosmetics, hair accessories, torches, gloves, notebooks, glasses, pens, sun glasses and jewellery are welcome additions.

‘‘Ideally bags would come in with items included, but bags or items on their own can be given as well,’’ Waszczak said.

The bags are given to Mid-South Island Women’s Refuge and Family Services in Timaru.

Their services cover the Ashburton District.

Refuge co-manager Tepora Whaturia said clients were filled with gratitude when they received a bag.

‘‘They are given out faster than they come in. Over the three appeals we have received hundreds of bags,’’ Whaturia said.

‘‘Each bag comes with a Love Grace card which does give us an opportunity to talk to the women about Grace’s story.’’

Across Mid South Canterbury and Oamaru the service sees about 1200 women in the brief intervention programme each year, as well as many more through other services they provide.

‘‘The bags are such a nice way to share with our clients. The women are in awe that someone who doesn’t know them was thinking about them. They are very much appreciated, to think a stranger has been kind enough to do this, to put a bag of supplies together, is very much appreciated,’’ Whaturia said.

Filled bags for the 2024 Love Grace Appeal can be dropped off to Beauty Worx Day & Medi Spa, 278 Tancred St, Ashburton, until International Women’s Day on March 8.