The Parent Pac


It is a parent’s worst nightmare when their child suddenly becomes ill and needs emergency hospital treatment. Most parents will spend days by their child’s bedside in a hospital ward without any toiletries, unable to wash properly or even brush their teeth, relying heavily on family and friends being available to bring them supplies.

One Mum who found herself in this position was Melanie Douglas, she had noticed a lot of parents during her son’s many hospital admissions without any supplies, after chatting with her son about this they decided to “pay a little kindness forward” and from this the ‘Parent Pac’ was born.

Melanie is a Soroptimist (part of a group of women who work for the rights of women and girls worldwide) and she took her project idea to her club in Downpatrick and District who agreed to support it. They created the ‘Parent Pac’ containing shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant with versions for both men and women. After discussions with staff they have also produced hygiene packs for women and girls along with dental packs for those who just want to brush their teeth. Melanie’s hope is that the parents who benefit from the ‘Parent Pac’s’ will one day pay forward their gratitude and show kindness to another parent in need, be that a friendly smile, a cuppa or a reassuring chat, any act of kindness means a lot during those worrying times.

Dr David Robinson, Assistant Director for Women and Acute Child Health said: “The Team at the South Eastern Trust greatly appreciate the thoughtfulness of Melanie who, having experienced a challenging time in hospital with her own child, chose to help other parents in a similar position by creating the ‘Parent Pac’.  The ‘Parent Pac’ gives parents much more than ‘bathroom essentials’ – it gives them a sense of being cared for by others who understand.”