HomeArticlesLifestyleGold Coast Family Busts Coronavirus Boredom and Poverty

Gold Coast Family Busts Coronavirus Boredom and Poverty

Helen Stubbs | May 2020

Kate Armstrong and her boys, Jack and Hayden, have developed a resource to help families affected by Coronavirus, through busting boredom and donating all their profits through GIVIT.

A busy working single mum, Kate put together an 126-page sanity saver book, aptly titled The Book of Helpful Bits, now for sale on Etsy for $6.60. With the funds received, GIVIT will purchase grocery vouchers for people doing it tough.

“After hearing ‘I’m bored’ for the 634th time, and hearing friends say the same of their kids, we decided to put a booklet together to help kids and families keep occupied,” says Kate.

“The updated version is 111 pages and is filled with over 160 links to fun, entertaining educational websites and virtual excursions, as well as colouring pages, activities and boredom busting ideas.”

These include games, craft, working from home tips and templates for planners, meal planners, rewards charts, mindfulness, and more.

The Book of Helpful Bits is for everyone and will still be useful after isolation.

“The community spirit and the willingness to get behind and support people doing it tough is something I love most about the GC,” says Kate.

“We’re a little team of three—myself, my eldest son Jack (11) and my youngest son Hayden (8). We’ve had a pretty hectic and difficult past few years but coming from a long line of strong and determined women, I’ve learnt that you have to keep going.

“I love that my boys are so caring and compassionate and have a genuine desire to help other people. We know that although we may not have a lot, we can still do a lot, and every little bit helps.”

The Armstrongs have been recognised with an NRMA Queensland Heroes Award, and Kate was nominated for a Gold Coast Australia Day Award. The awards were for their development of the Little Elves Project.

The boys had the idea to start Little Elves Project in 2017, when they began collecting donated Christmas gifts for Queensland kids living in foster care.

“We’ve held an annual fun day at The Club at Parkwood Village and, to date, have donated almost 15,000 gifts.”

With isolation closures, the Armstrongs realised they wouldn’t have enough time to organise this year’s event.

“We still wanted to do something to help, so we created the book,” says Kate.

Kate chose GIVIT to ensure that gifts went directly to kids in care. GIVIT delivers gifts to child safety service centres around the state, who pass the gifts to children in care.

“It was a perfect match,” says Kate. “After our first event, and learning more about GIVIT and everything they do, I knew I had to work for them. I’d volunteered before … never had I found a charity that not only had the most dedicated, compassionate and kind team (every single one of them!), but did exactly what they promised.

“I was able to work with them on a few projects until I was offered a full time role last year as the Marketing Coordinator, which—yes—has given me skills to create this booklet.”

GIVIT is all about inspiring people to give and to help people in need, from all walks of life.

“They currently support over 3000 charities, schools and organisations who request much needed items for the people they support. Those requests are added to the GIVIT website for the public to view and donate,” says Kate.

“It could be a couch for single mum and her children who have fled domestic violence and are starting over. It could be a grocery voucher for a farming family struggling through drought.”

Other items have included work boots, sleeping bags, sheets, pillows, beds, and even caravans and houses.

“You can donate your quality, pre-loved items by uploading them to the GIVIT website. The organisations registered with charities can search through and accept the items you have offered.

“The other incredible thing about GIVIT is that they use 100% of the donated funds they receive to purchase essential items for people in need. They take no operating costs, admin costs or wages from your donated funds.

“GIVIT is committed to buying locally wherever possible, so local businesses and communities are also being supported.

“Their work during disasters like last year’s flooding in far north and west Queensland and most recently the devastating bushfires has been incredible. People have begun to recognise that GIVIT is the smart way to give.”

GIVIT is close to reaching the huge milestone of 2 million donations.

“The team is currently working from home, but because GIVIT is an online charity, work continues as normal. Requests are coming in from organisations supporting people who are struggling during this time, so if you can donate, please do,” says Kate.

As Coronavirus isolation rules relax, Kate and the boys are keen to return to the beach.

“It’s our happy place,” says Kate. “When we need time out and for life to pause for a second, we go for long walks, collecting shells …. or the boys run and run while I sit, eyes closed, feet in the sand, breathing in the salty air and soaking in the breeze.”

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