First National Palm Beach is once again supporting Totes For Kindness, bringing Christmas joy to Gold Coast locals in need. Using an already prepared shopping list of basics, Totes For Kindness encourages community members to fill a tote bag (a reusable shopping bag or cold bag) with food and gifts which are then delivered to both the Gold Coast Youth Service and the Palm Beach Neighbourhood Centre who distribute to those families and individuals in need at Christmas.
- Tags: Gold Coast Community, Palm Beach, Firt National News
Totes For Kindness was started by Tugun local Megan Harris in 2015 out of a desire to give back to the community, as well as to raise awareness within not only the local area but the broader Gold Coast communities about the number of people struggling to make ends meet.
While Megan would love to expand Totes For Kindness and collect totes all year, she has initially targeted Easter and Christmas for donations.
“You watch the news and there are so many terrible things happening around the world, so it’s easy to forget that there are people right here in our local community that are struggling to make ends meet. Totes For Kindness isn’t just for homeless people – there are whole families living out of their cars. There are people who have a job but still can’t afford to provide for themselves or their kids. You look at your neighbour or even a friend and they may look like they’re doing ok for themselves but they’re not – they’re struggling. We want to help those people too.”
“When you’re doing it tough all year round, big gift-giving holidays like Easter and Christmas really magnify your struggle. It can be really horrible for people when they realize they can’t afford to have a nice meal or buy gifts for their loved ones. It means a lot to people to receive these totes at Christmas.”
Megan is inspired by the amount of support she has received from the community so far, receiving 50 totes and numerous gift donations in the first year.
“The community has really gotten behind it. There are some people I’m aware of that don’t have a lot of money themselves but get so much enjoyment and fulfilment from giving back that they are happy to be a part of it. The great thing about Totes For Kindness is that it's a really unique hands on model of giving. Although each tote has the same basic items it gives people donating the chance to really curate their tote into something special and wonderful with what they choose and any extras they include. The Southern Gold Coast has always been a close and supportive community but it’s still really inspiring to see the outpouring of support for something like this.”
Megan is aiming again for 50 food totes this year and as many gifts for all ages as possible, but more importantly, she is hoping to get as many people as she can in the community involved.
“Totes For Kindness isn’t a charity. It relies on community members to put the totes together, volunteers and businesses to act as drop-off points for totes and donations, and volunteers to deliver the totes to The Palm Beach Neighbourhood Centre and the Gold Coast Youth Service so they can be distributed to those in need. I would love to see more schools and businesses involved, and obviously as many community members as possible. It’s just a great thing for everyone in the community.”
Do you want to get involved with Totes For Kindness? Read the instructions below or head to the Totes For Kindness Facebook page at
How To Get Involved First thing’s first – to get a copy of the list, head to the Totes For Kindness Facebook page, go into the 'How It All Works' album and print out the shopping list or just look at it on your phone when you're doing your shopping. The easiest way to take part is to add a few items to your regular shopping list each week over the lead up to Christmas, or alternatively you might want to shop for your tote all in one go. Totes For Kindness does ask though that if you are going to participate in filling a tote that you commit to buying all the main items from the list. This ensures that all bags are the same and any extras you may choose to add are a wonderful bonus for recipients.
• Gifts: to participate in the gift drive, simply purchase brand new items for babies, children, teens and adults (please no alcohol or inappropriate gifts) and leave your gift at any drop off point.
• Individual Food Items: if you can’t afford to fill a whole Tote, but would like to participate, Totes For Kindness happily accepts individual items that are listed on the shopping list. Using all the individual items received means that collectively as a community even more totes can be put together.
Once you have filled your tote you can drop it into the First National Palm Beach office at 15 Palm Beach Ave during the week of Monday December 11th - Saturday 17th December, or alternatively Bendigo Bank in Tugun will also be accepting donations during this period as well. The Totes will be collected and passed on to the Gold Coast Youth Services and Palm Beach Neighbourhood Centre to distribute to the families and individuals they work with.
Support Totes For Kindness This Christmas
by Nikki Tuarau
palmbeachfn.com.au November 2016
First National Palm Beach
15 Palm Beach Ave Palm Beach, Queensland 4221
Phone: 07 5559 9600