AFTER four years of fundraising, Sale charity A Better Life For Foster Kids finally has a van.
The organisation, which creates ‘crisis bags’ for children entering the foster system, delivers bags, furniture, supplies and toys all over eastern Victoria.
Founder Heather Baird has been focused on acquiring a van for years, as her car just wasn’t able to deal with the volume of deliveries.
Having a van means she will be able to drop off crisis bags in bulk to other organisations and police stations, helping more children when they are at their most vulnerable.
The crisis bags have clean clothes, a teddy, and a book, and come in suitcases, which gives the child something they can keep and take with them.
Ms Baird said it took a whole community effort to buy the van, thanking the various businesses and associations that contributed, including the Women of Wellington Factor, which held a gala ball and raffle to support the charity last year.
The group raised $20,500, and WOW Factor chair Tracey Rowe said the group chose A Better Life For Foster Kids to support after meeting Ms Baird and seeing how hard she worked.
“I work for the Department of Education and Training, and I look after the educational needs of kids in out-of-home care, so I guess I have a bit of an awareness of the additional needs those kids have,” she said.
“Just talking to Heather about her philosophy in supporting the kids — she’s looking at providing the things that other kids don’t get, like clothes, shoes, and toys — on balance we thought she could use a bit of help.”
Ms Baird already had big plans for the future.
“We’ve got a home and we’ve got the van — now we’re going to change the system,” she said.
“Politicians all want to be seen to be saying the right things, but none of them want to be seen doing the right things.
“I went down to a forum in Traralgon a couple of weeks ago with a few politicians, and there were (foster) carers.
“They wanted to know what the go was.
“There’s an election coming up this year, so what I’m trying to set up is a forum on foster care here in June, with as many politicians as we can get.”