Packs a ray of sun­shine

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page -

BEL­MONT res­i­dent Erin Tan is help­ing to ease the trauma for chil­dren taken into foster care with a sim­ple back­pack filled with essen­tials and a com­fort­ing toy.

Ms Tan is the trea­surer of Op­er­a­tion Sun­shine, which re­cently made its first de­liv­ery of 30 ‘sun­shine packs’ to the South Perth of­fice of Foun­da­tions Care, a na­tional fos­ter­ing ser­vices agency.

Each pack con­tains essen­tials like py­ja­mas, socks and a tooth­brush, plus a soft toy, to help chil­dren through the first 24 to 48 hours of a place­ment.

“Foun­da­tions Care is the first or­gan­i­sa­tion we’ve pro­vided them to, which is ex­cit­ing for us,” Op­er­a­tion Sun­shine pres­i­dent Leah Atkin­son said.

“And the packs them­selves are full of new things, they’re not pulled out of a box of sec­ond-hand stuff.

“Ev­ery­one loves get­ting new stuff. It’s so ex­cit­ing and fresh and new.”

Op­er­a­tion Sun­shine be­gan when Ms Atkin­son in­vited her friends on so­cial media to con­trib­ute to a Christ­mas present drive for chil­dren in out-ofhome care.

She de­scribed the re­sponse as “quite over­whelm­ing”.

“I ended up hav­ing to set up a Face­book page, sep­a­rate from mine, just to or­gan­ise all the Christ­mas presents.”

Ms Atkin­son re­alised the po­ten­tial of her idea and es­tab­lished Op­er­a­tion Sun­shine, helped by six of her friends who form the com­mit­tee.

The first ‘sun­shine packs’ were as­sem­bled with funds raised from a sausage siz­zle.

Now the or­gan­i­sa­tion is able to fundraise and ac­cept char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions, it has plans for many more.

Erin Tan, Gabrielle Ponte and Leah Atkin­son, from Op­er­a­tion Sun­shine, with Rachael Rogers from Foun­da­tions Care.

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