MEDIA RELEASE - Dignity and respect at heart of donation

The Rotary Club of Maitland Sunrise has donated more than $550 worth of women’s sanitary items and handmade reusable face masks as the August ‘Dignity Drive’ draws to a close.

Maitland Sunrise’s Community Services Director Maree Hunt and Membership Director and Past President Kay Pritchard visited Member for Maitland Ms Jenny Aitchison MP’s office on Friday to drop off boxes of women’s feminine hygiene products, plus 30 hand-sewn three-layer face masks.

Members of the club have held three socially distanced working parties to produce the masks, which they are selling for $10 each with all proceeds returned to the community.

“Share the Dignity is reporting that donations to its August Dignity Drive are down 50 per cent on previous drives due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Aitchison said. “It’s good to see local clubs like Maitland Sunrise Rotary stepping up to help our community.”

Ms Pritchard said that organisations such as Rotary and the Maitland Neighbourhood Centre, where she and Ms Hunt volunteer, are seeing more people in the Maitland community doing it tough than ever before.

“The need is growing and those in need deserve their dignity and our respect,” Ms Pritchard said. “It’s just the Australian way – giving someone a hand if you can – and that is what Rotary does.”

Ms Hunt echoed this sentiment. “We are now seeing people who have never asked for help before, due to COVID,” she said.

In addition to the Dignity Drive donation, Maitland Sunrise has reached out to staff and patients at Maitland Hospital during the pandemic.

“We put free coffees on for Maitland Hospital after-hours staff at their café, and at The Bikesmith for people experiencing homelessness,” Ms Pritchard said.

The club also provided Dignity Bags for people who were unexpectedly hospitalised and due to restrictions could not access the items they needed to manage their self-care.

“We made dozens of cards in which we wrote personalised messages, and put little chocolates, to lift the spirits of people in hospital who couldn’t have visitors,” Ms Pritchard said.

Anyone wishing to donate to the August Dignity Drive can drop off unopened packets of women’s sanitary items to Ms Aitchison’s office at 2/12 Elgin Street, Maitland, until 5pm Monday, August 31.

Donations can also be made online at