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A Sale-based charity that makes life a little brighter for foster children has itself received a helping hand.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has announced A Better Life for Foster Kids has received $7328 through the #lovegippsland Stronger Communities Program.

“The volunteers sort donations of clothing and toiletries in a large room neighbouring Sale Memorial Hall,” Mr Chester said.

“Unfortunately, this room gets very hot in summer and very cold in winter, which is extremely uncomfortable for those helping out.

“This money has been spent on a reverse-cycle air conditioner and new carpet. The room has now been transformed and is a much more pleasant place to be.”

Mr Chester said A Better Life for Foster Kids, led by its founder Heather Baird, provided welcome comfort to children in need.

“Heather and her small team of volunteers are making a difference in the lives of young Gippslanders. It’s also great to see the practical support they receive from other community members to help some of the most vulnerable children in our region,” Mr Chester said.

Mrs Baird and her band of dedicated helpers pack crisis bags for children who have just been placed with foster carers.

“Most of these children arrive with little more than what they are wearing,” Mrs Baird said.

“We pack suitcases with everything the child needs to get through the initial crisis. Every year, we send off around 1500 of these cases each year. We get a great deal of support from members of the public and businesses, who donate new or near new clothing and handmade blankets and toys to put in the bags.

“This grant has been terrific because it means we can do something to help our volunteers so they are comfortable while they are giving their time and energy to us.”

The #lovegippsland Stronger Communities Program has delivered $600,000 to community groups across Gippsland for equipment and new infrastructure. A Better Life for Foster Kids was one of 19 organisations to receive a share of $150,000 under the fourth round of the program.

A total of nearly 80 clubs, organisations and groups in Gippsland have received a collective total of $600,000 to upgrade community infrastructure since the program began in 2015.

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