By Bev Jordan
There was a flurry of activity in Jan Sanders Baulkham Hills garage last week as she, her daughter Vicki Stack and three friends packed items for those in need.
Last year their group sent over 1500 gift packages to Anglicare Family Support at Mt Druitt.
Jan and Vicki have been running the group since Vera Abell, whose mother (Beatrice) originally established the BEA Group, decided to step down.
“I have been doing Aqua Aerobics at ARV in Castle Hill for 26 years, and heard of the BEA group with Vera at the helm,” said Jan, “And I joined.”
“About 8 years ago, Vera had to move to Brian King Gardens (at Anglicare Castle Hill) and she asked Vicki, my daughter, and I, if we would take over and continue her legacy. Which we did.”
The groups meets every month to sort and pack donated items, many made or bought by group members. Jan and Vicki regularly shop together to build up supplies and Jan knits and sews items, such as baby wraps and fleece throws for children.
Toiletries and school essentials are packed into age appropriate hand-made material bags which are created by volunteers who sew and knit, some in their 80s and 90s.
There are also special gifts for Mothers’ day and Fathers’ day and also Christmas.
“We have lots of helpers who give their time by making bags, over 300 last year, children’s clothes, and beautiful dolls clothes for the dolls (we buy) at Christmas.
“There are also knitted and crocheted adult and children’s jumpers and cardigans and crocheted and knitted rugs. We also give children’s and adult clothes. As everything we give is a gift, we don’t give second-hand articles.”
Last week mum and daughter were being helped by regulars Yvonne Kelly, Kay Hancock and Pat Woods. They all met Jan at aqua aerobics.
Jan was named Hills Senior Citizen of 2021 because of her work but said it was the whole group involved. “I am just the figurehead.”
If you would like to get involved or donate new items please email Jan at [email protected]