Albany Soroptimists in co-ordination with Albany Women’s Centre have kicked off their annual drive to provide toiletries and other essentials for women and children affected by domestic violence who visit the women’s centre for support. For eight years the Albany Soroptimists have organised the collection drive and provided essential toiletries, financial support, and clothing for the women and children who have fled violence. From late May to July 7, the donation drive will collect essentials throughout the Great Southern. Often women and children who flee from violence arrive at the centre with nothing. With the cost of living rising and the current housing crisis, Anglicare WA Albany Women’s Centre Manager Joanna Fictoor said the donation drive was as important as ever. “The Albany Women’s Centre has seen an increase of women living with their mothers and children or women with adult children seeking refuge,” she said. “With the housing crisis, there is a significant increase in families living together, we’re seeing three generations of families present for accommodation.” “The centre continues to operate at capacity providing support and accommodation to 80 women and children, on average, every six months.” The drive is seeking donations such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, shower gel, brushes, toothbrushes, children’s clothing and underwear, and school essentials like backpacks and pencil cases. Janet McArtney, project co-ordinator at Albany Soroptimists, said there were various ways one could donate to the donation drive. “Financial donations or vouchers/cards for department stores and supermarkets are most practical as they can be used to buy school uniforms, general clothing and shoes to fit the family in need, or help to purchase furniture and whitegoods for women ready to move into permanent accommodation,” she said. “Most pharmacies in Albany have gratefully shown their support for the donation drive, by committing to donate excess stock throughout the six-week fundraiser, schools are also contacted to assist in collecting donations but also to have an awareness of the centre.” Donations can be dropped off at the Anglicare WA office on 44 Collie Street Albany, as well as supporting businesses in Albany, Denmark, and Mt Barker. Direct financial donations can be made at https://karekits.raisely.com.