Backpack charity recognised with Council award
Posted at 2:14pm Tuesday 04 Jun, 2019
A Silverdale-based charity that started with a mother and daughter, packing items they paid for themselves into backpacks for women and children fleeing abusive relationships, was recognised for its good works with an Auckland Council Community Group Award last month.
The award came from the Waitemata Local Board and is part of Council's Good Citizens' Awards, which recognise not-for-profit organisations and volunteers.
I Got Your Backpack founder Anita Hinton and trustee Joanne Ryland were presented with the award on May 16.
Anita says it was “a weird feeling”. “We don't do what we do for awards,” she says. “It's my passion, and that's enough for me.”
At the same time, Anita's daughter, nine-year-old Neia, received the Children and Young People Award. She has grown up with volunteering – as well as helping her mother pack and deliver the backpacks, Neia assists her grandmother, who runs the dog re-homing charity Saving Hope.
“You never have to ask Neia to help,” Anita says. “She just jumps in and does it.”
I Got Your Backpack is a registered charity that started in 2015 when Anita, a survivor of domestic violence, wanted to help others who flee to refuges – often with few, if any, possessions.
She did so by providing backpacks of essential items tailored to the needs of women, children, babies, and, more recently, men.
Initially, Anita and Neia packed all the items themselves, handwriting a warm and friendly note to attach to each one. Four years later, a small team of volunteers operates from a donated packing station in Silverdale with all administration, communication and fundraising efforts run from volunteers' homes.
The packs are distributed to safe houses and Women's Refuges throughout NZ.
They are filled with toiletries, snacks and drinks, books, toys and other items and Anita says filling them is still a mission, as very few of the products are provided by sponsors.
Anita says finding sponsors who can supply products on an ongoing basis would make an enormous difference to the charity, as the need is growing rapidly.
Last year I Got Your Backpack distributed 1000 backpacks and already this year, they have reached that number.
Anita has a fulltime job, so has to fit her charitable work around that.
Recently the group created a Facebook page for people who are interested in volunteering – look for IGYBP Volunteers.