Therese pulls up in her car right beside Addi Road Food Pantry Marrickville. She hops out and flips open the boot.
Inside, she has bags and bags of sanitary products that have been donated to Share the Dignity, the organisation she volunteers for.
Soon Addi Road’s volunteers are helping her unload the delivery. As they work together, Therese explains how Addi Road registered with Share the Dignity a while back – and today they’ve been able to respond to our request for help.
Therese describes Share the Dignity as “a female-led group that collect sanitary items, toiletries, handbags. Eradicating period poverty is what we try to do.”
She turns to everyone and speaks by rote, emphasising a phrase that means a lot to her… “To every women and girl in need a bit of dignity.”
In practice that means Share the Dignity help women and girls coping with homelessness, domestic violence and economic problems.
The pressures are great; the difficulties widespread and innumerable. Organisations like Addi Road and Share the Dignity are just the tip of the iceberg, working in their own ways to make life a little easier. Coming together to do even more.
“Woolies and other businesses put the Share the Dignity Boxes out in March and August only. Items are collected by people like me called “Sheros” and these are then taken to charities who have requested items (like today!) Women’s, teens and baby bags with toiletries, baby or teen items are donated in November and left at Bunnings stores for collection and are distributed to women in need all over Australia in time for Christmas.”
The energy and good humour Therese brings with her are infectious. As Mary, our Admin Assistant, and Christine, a Food Pantry volunteer, pitch in to help her, Therese smiles and says, “I just like to give back. It’s good to somehow make a difference.”
That said, the heart in her efforts obviously runs deep.
Therese explains a little of her past… “I had a pretty torrid upbringing. I’ve been destitute. So I know how it feels – and what a little bit of help can mean. Now that I am not experiencing those times, I want to support others.”
“There’s no dignity in asking for help,” she says, a reflection that comes from first-hand struggles. Seeing women and girls forced to choose between buying food or buying expensive period products is an injustice she can’t bear.
Prompted, she talks a little more of her own past and what it taught her. “My growing up was hard. I lost my mum when I was young. Dad remarried. I got thrown out of the family home when I was 17.”
“I ended up marrying a drunk. There was abuse. When I was sixteen weeks pregnant he tried to throw me off a balcony. I had to walk out of that situation on my own.”
“But I got past all that. I met a beautiful man and married him. And I am still with him,” she says, suddenly filled with delight.
She looks at everyone intently and recites another line of wisdom, “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
When asked where that line comes from, Therese says the Bible. But she’s not into overdoing that stuff. She’s just lucky to have what she has now. The love; the chance to do something that matters. An afternoon helping others the way people once helped her.
Our Addi Road Food Pantry outlets in Marrickville and Camperdown will have the sanitary products (pads, tampons, incontinence pads etc) in our stores from Thursday 11 April 2024 till supplies run out. Thanks again Therese and Share the Dignity for your work.
Addi Road Food Pantry volunteer Christine; Share the Dignity volunteer Therese; Addi Road Admin Assistant Mary. Photo Mark Mordue.

Addi Road Food Pantry volunteer Christine; Share the Dignity volunteer Therese; Addi Road Admin Assistant Mary. Photo Mark Mordue.