Gootchie grandmother supports domestic violence victims
A FRASER Coast grandmother is digging deep in her own pockets to ensure victims of domestic violence have some dignity in their time of greatest need.
Gootchie's Lyn Kelman AM, 75, is the co-ordinator of a Country Women's Association initiative that sees emergency bags filled with personal hygiene items and delivered to safe houses in Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Gympie.
Mrs Kelman said she became involved with the project after DVConnect in Brisbane contacted the CWA state office five years ago asking for help.
"They just did not have the manpower to deliver bags to all the rural areas," Mrs Kelman said.
"CWA have a branch in most little towns so they used us to do the delivery.
"What we're doing is an emergency pack for the women for a couple of days until they find somewhere to go or something is resolved."
A few local CWAs have made small donations to help fund the project but, for the most part, Mrs Kelman is filling and delivering the bags at her own expense.
"People just don't donate and my husband and I have been bearing the brunt of the whole lot," she said.
"One (CWA) branch donated $200 last year. They were very generous.
"A couple of other branches have given me items, such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, but basically, I've done most of the shopping.
"I usually go to the Reject Shop and get the cheaper lines."
Mrs Kelman said it was important to try and pack special items for mothers and children beyond the necessities.
"As a special item for the women, sometimes I go around to the chemists to see if I can get a lipstick, or a small thing of hand cream, just something nice for them," she said.
"And as well as that, we have a bag with children's toys, just small toys or colouring pencils, crayons, activity books.
"We've got a pattern (for a teddy bear) that I'm trying to get my division to do... they're just little knitted teddy bears.
"One of the ladies from the safe houses said they go over really well with the kids because if they know there's a young child coming in, they'll put them on the end of the bed for them and that's the little kid's special thing."
Mrs Kelman has delivered 186 emergency bags to safe houses in Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Gympie since 2013.