Just like a home renovation, the way to keep costs under control is to do as much of the work that you are capable of. When it comes to fund raising, and a commitment to passing on 100% of all funds raised, you find yourself taking on tasks that you think are beyond your capabilities, but you give it a go anyway!
Which brings us to the production of hundreds and hundreds of Hygiene bags that are needed to house the toiletries kindly donated by our wonderful POD supporters. Buying bags…cost prohibited. Sewing bags seemed the way to go. We dragged our trusty Singers and Janome’s out of storage, rustled up some fabric from unused stashes, and organised to meet for a group stitch session.
Dear reader, it was not a day of high productivity or calm. Our machines, suddenly thrust into action after years of hibernation, were having none of it as bobbins jammed and needles broke. We had to learn how to put in a zipper; how hard can that be? Too hard it turns out. The hardest working tool that day was the unpicker! The highlight of the day was the egg and lettuce sandwiches on fresh white bread and Cadbury chocolate chaser. Humbled, but not defeated, we booked our machines in for a service, laughed at our escapades of the day, and vowed to meet the next week to “smash it out”.
We did find our groove, we did learn to put a zipper in (although zippers will continue to vex us for the rest of our days), we got faster at cutting and quicker at sewing. Egg & lettuce sandwiches became a tradition of sewing days along with a lot of laughter, life catch up, solving world problems, planning trips to Cambodia, willing the exchange rate to rise and goal setting for POD.
It soon became apparent that fabric was going to be our next big hurdle. Toiletry bags use up a surprising amount of fabric and once we had exhausted our own and friends donated fabrics, we had to explore other (cheaper) ways to procure fabric. We got creative and raided linen closets for old doona covers, sheets and pillowcases. One of our wonderful supporters (Robyn B) took an empty bag to Bali and spent a day in Denpasar haggling for the best, best price and brought home and donated over 60 meters of beautiful batik fabric for POD. Our supporters really are the best people.
After all this…the task of filling the bags begins. We drag out boxes and boxes of donated products and set up a production line. Don’t stand around while we are filling bags because we will put you to work! It never ceases to amaze us, the generosity of donations that are sent our way and how truly helpful the items in the bags are.
So here we are, many years after that first sewing day. We vow to keep sewing if the toiletries keep coming. We continue to find creative ways to source fabric and zippers! If you want to throw a couple of extra items into your shopping cart each week, please do. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lip balm, comb, brush, and razors are all enthusiastically welcomed.
Our toiletry bags are just one small part of the work that we do to empower, support, and educate through our Pod Projects Charity. We often take for granted the dignity in being able to shower, wash your hair, and clean your teeth and we hope that our toiletry bags bring that same feeling to someone in need.
Footnote 1: Pod Projects still struggle with zippers but can now laugh about it without crying!
Footnote 2: Egg & lettuce sandwiches on fresh white bread ARE THE BEST!