The Beauty Bank is a registered charity that provides those who have left a place of domestic violence or other hardship situation with an amazing array of essential toiletries and small gift items packed in a useful bag. The majority of our requests are for assistance for women, but we are also able to offer men and older teenagers the little luxuries in life that most of us take for granted. It was established by Jen Armstrong in 2013 after she left a place of domestic violence and received a gift of a body wash which had the impact of making her feel somebody in her community cared about her personally.
Jen was joined by Denise Dolan as Operations Manager in 2015 and together they worked on becoming a registered charity to further enhance the great work of the community services in the Greater Sydney area of NSW by being able to provide Life’s Little Luxuries Bags full of essential toiletries and small gift items. Jen stepped back from The Beauty Bank to concentrate on her new community career, feeling confident that The Beauty Bank is well-run in Denise’s very capable hands. Since 2013 The Beauty Bank has distributed around 17,500 bags to the community, comprising of thousands of individual items, along with also distributing small pamper packs when the complete bag is not appropriate for the situation.
We receive no government funding for the service we provide and rely on the generosity of the community and our supporters to continue our work. Our small team are based in the Sutherland Shire in a small shared space in Caringbah and storage units in Kurnell. Volunteers receive and sort a variety of product every week before putting the items into a bag with a personally signed gift tag for distribution by the social or case worker who requested it.
The Beauty Bank also makes and distributes Christmas Life’s Little Luxuries Bags which contain luxury gift items only, as we believe this is a time of year when it is traditional not only to give but receive a gift and we feel this also offers our recipients a feeling of self-worth. We rely heavily on monetary donations to make these bags so that every bag will be uniform. Many of them will be given out at Christmas functions held by the agencies and it is, thus, important, that nobody feel they have missed out on receiving a gift that another may have received.
UPDATE 31/12/20: As mentioned on the opening page, The Beauty Bank has now closed. Jen Armstrong’s vision in 2013 of distributing a bag for every Facebook like was long ago surpassed. Jen handed the reins over to Denise Dolan in 2015 and stepped right back, allowing Denise to steer the growth of The Beauty Bank from then on. They joked that Jen gave birth to the organisation in 2013, Denise and Jen co-parented from January to August 2015 and Denise adopted the organisation in August 2015. We are all proud of what has been achieved with little money and a lot of enthusiasm and the volunteers who joined our ranks have been amazing.
Our vision is that by offering our Life’s Little Luxuries Bags year round we will be able to assist those who receive our gift with a feeling of confidence for the future, knowing that their community cares. We believe that everybody has the capacity to change a life and that everybody requires a helping hand at some point.
To provide good quality essential hygiene items and a touch of luxury to those in need, partnering with like-minded agencies to make a difference.
Jen’s motto is one we can all take note of: “YOU WILL NOT DEFINE ME, I WILL DEFINE ME”