impact is a completely volunteer charity committed to making a grass roots, practical and common sense difference to Victorian women and children escaping extreme violence at home. But while we're a charity, we don't give charity. Rather we give gifts and services with dignity and we give dignity with gifts and services.
Because impact has no paid staff or premises, with only incorporated fees and public liability insurance as its main costs, well more than 98 cents in every dollar donated is directed to fulfilling impact’s mission – a statistic of which impact is very proud. impact receives no government funding but does have DGR tax-deductibility status.
Starting as an ova of an idea in March 2006, Kathy Kaplan OAM and twelve of her friends sourced donations and, in a friend’s lounge room, packed 100 small gift boxes which were then delivered to the few metropolitan Safe Houses which support domestic violence victims of which Kathy was aware.
impact has grown dramatically and organically through word-of-mouth and social media based on its work, reputation and the sense of belonging and worth it offers its volunteers.
Pre-COVID, was the last time impact could do its 'normal' Wrap & Pack with nearly 500 volunteers packing 2000 Bags of Love, as we now call them, in the Glen Eira College Sports Hall. We also packed 90 large bags of goods for case workers to distribute on an as-needs basis and a similar number of large bags of Christmas gifts for children.
Due to COVID, our Wrap & Pack Days have had to be reconfigured. By providing many COVID-safe 'shifts' we were STILL able to provide 2000 Bags of Bags of Love at Christmas including hundreds of gifts for the children in hiding.
We have just completed packing for Mother's Day 2021 with 526 volunteers over 50 shifts!!! It's been a massive effort but nothing, not even COVID, is going to stop us recognising, respecting and helping the women and children living in crisis accommodation due to Domestic and Family Violence.
With Christmas 2021 approaching, we will need to pack 2500 (!!!) - yes the numbers have significantly increased - Bags of love.
As well as its planned outcomes, impact successfully brings together men, women and children from a range of cultural and religious communities all of whom leave every agenda outside other than to do something good for someone they don’t know.
An image that will never leave the memory of those who were there a few years ago is that of a hijabi wearing woman working shoulder to shoulder with a tzitzit [fringes], payes [side curls] wearing religious Jewish boy – an image which depicts Australia as it should be.
Because social justice and volunteerism are impact's core values, impact further reinforces this by supplying every child who attends our packing days with a Certificate of Appreciation. But impact doesn't do this directly or via the child’s parent or supervising adult: rather impact writes to the child’s school principal to advise of the child’s involvement and asking them to present the certificate to the child at an assembly.
Bags of Love are what impact started with and they are what impact continues to provide: our initial objective was to provide the women in hiding with those things most of us take for granted. But we now do far more...