Returning a Kindness

21 April 2017

‘I arrived at Spencer Street Station in February, with only the contents of a suitcase and a tea chest to my name, and knowing no-one.’
Trudy Forster is a Brotherhood bequestor. Here she shares the story of how she became a supporter of the Brotherhood and the work we do.


In 1984, aged 20, Trudy Forster, now a Brotherhood bequestor, moved from Adelaide to Melbourne after being accepted into the Victorian College of the Arts. She had been attending Flinders University in Adelaide, supporting herself through part-time retail and babysitting work, but didn’t have a great deal of money to draw on for her move. ‘I arrived at Spencer Street Station in February, with only the contents of a suitcase and a tea chest to my name, and knowing no-one,’ she recalls.

As Trudy was studying, she was not entitled to unemployment benefits, and her Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme (TEAS) had run out the year before after completing her first degree. She found herself in a difficult financial situation – ‘I think I had enough money to live on for about six weeks, but I was young, and supremely confident that things would work out.’

Trudy found accommodation in a share house but was in need of inexpensive furniture, particularly a bed. One of her new housemates suggested she look at one of the local Brotherhood of St Laurence op shops.

‘I must admit that I didn’t look like a needy case, as I clearly wasn’t down on my luck’, says Trudy, ‘I probably looked like some middle-class kid telling a story!’ Despite this, Trudy was given the benefit of the doubt by the store manager, and was able to purchase a bed, mattress and wardrobe for $15, which were delivered the next morning. ‘As I handed over the money, I promised him that one day I would pay the Brotherhood back for their kindness’, she says.

‘I don’t think he believed me, but I have kept my word. After I started a family, it was time to draw up my will, and the kindness of that man at the Brotherhood shop has not been forgotten. What goes around, comes around. I was the recipient of a great kindness and I promised to return that kindness. My bequest allows me to do that.’

Photograph of Trudy with her dogs

For Trudy, supporting the Brotherhood is not just about fulfilling a promise, though: ‘I like the fact that the Brotherhood is a Melbourne charity, delivering services and support to my local community. I can identify with their mission to rid society of poverty and I appreciate that they deliver practical solutions to everyday problems.’

Including a bequest in your will, no matter the size, helps us continue to tackle the causes of poverty and to enable people to build better lives. If you’re interested in finding out more, please call us on (03) 9483 1371 or visit our bequests page.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
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The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

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