Marijke McDonald has always loved helping her community.
“I think in a lot of different aspects it’s something that’s really important to me,” says McDonald.
So after talking with peers from around Victoria about helping the city’s homeless population, the 17-year-old felt compelled to act.
“I finally just hit a point where I couldn’t do anything else without doing something about this first…It was just a really heavy, really strong pull that I had to follow.”
It’s why she started out on the road to create her own foundation.
“It was a mega learning process,” says McDonald. “I did a lot of reading because there were just so many things that I didn’t know about.”
After months of paperwork and planning, McDonald’s dream became a reality. An Instagram page was launched, a board of directors created and their first initiative, a backpack drive in high schools across Victoria, was born.
“We had people donating different items and then we collected everything and we were able to pack backpacks according to different needs of individuals,” says McDonald.
The experience has been a pleasant surprise for Marijke’s parents Colleen and Ivan.
“I wasn’t quite sure of the whole process but she had talked to her board of directors, they knew what they wanted to do and when they needed help we were just told what help they wanted,” says Colleen.
“I was surprised that she put the whole thing together, first of all, and became a foundation,” says Ivan.
“I was [also] surprised to see our garage filled with hundreds and hundreds of items and surprised to see that those items are now in backpacks and all organized and ready to go.”
Home is Where the Heart is has since received enough donations for over 50 backpacks. To help with donations or financial contributions, send Marijke and her team a message through the foundation’s Instagram page.