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MinRes helps Dandelions WA secure new home

MinRes was proud to help secure a new home for Dandelions WA, a charity providing “kindness kits” to Western Australians in need as the cost of living continues to rise.

More than 300 schools across Western Australia have requested a record 10,000 backpacks filled with back-to-school essentials so every child can attend classes filled with confidence.

Demand for Dandelions WA’s school backpacks has grown so rapidly since the campaign launched three years ago that the charity has relocated to a larger premises with support from MinRes.

Dubbed the “Kindness Kubby”, MinRes will contribute to the cost of renting the Perth facility for five years to ensure Dandelions WA have a permanent base to operate from.

This week, MinRes also surprised Dandelions WA with an additional $10,000 donation to towards the $150,000 the charity needs to raise to fund 10,000 school backpacks.

MinRes Executive General Manager, People Andrea Chapman said: “We were proud to help Dandelions WA find their new home so that they could continue to spread kindness to Western Australians in need.

“For some WA kids, these backpacks will ensure that for the first time they will have everything they need to attend school with confidence and hope.”

An army of volunteers, led by Co-Founders Vicky Young and Jan Lewsey, have begun filling the backpacks with essentials such as stationery items, a lunch box, library bag, water bottle, hat and toiletries.

The huge task has begun months before the start of the new school year to ensure the backpacks get to the Kimberley before Christmas to avoid wet season road closures.

When the back-to-school campaign launched, Dandelions WA supported 220 children in 2021, which quadrupled to 934 gifted backpacks in 2022 and then soared again to 6,705 for the start of 2023.

After the Department of Education WA put out the call, the not-for-profit has received requests from 320 public schools, as well as government agencies, support groups and other charities, that need 10,000 backpacks for 2024.

At least half of the children also require toiletry packs that cost $15 each and contain shampoo and conditioner, bodywash or soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush and deodorant.

Anecdotal feedback from schools is that the backpacks are treasured by the students and the campaign has led to increased attendance rates and engagement, as well as improved learning outcomes.

Dandelions WA co-founder Vicky Young said: “The feedback we received is that children were missing the first couple of weeks of term one to avoid the embarrassment of going back to school without the essentials.

“We believed every child should have the opportunity to start the school year equal to their fellow students by having the materials needed to enter a classroom with confidence and excitement to learn.

“We have been inundated with demand amid the cost-of-living crisis and our back-to-school campaign has only been made possible with the support of businesses such as MinRes and the WA community.

“We still require further corporate support for our backpacks so every child gets what they need – 15 sponsors of $10,000 each would ensure we can meet the demand.”

Dandelions WA also provides remote communities with essentials, warmth to the homeless, kindness kits for women and children fleeing domestic violence and support to patients who arrive at hospital with nothing.

For more information or to donate, visit dandelionswa.org.au.