Last week we received a donation with a special message from a local business. They told us that instead of buying gifts for their partners, their employees decided to donate to Geelong Mums so we can fund one cot and mattress, 12 clothing bundles and 14 linen bundles for families in desperate need this Christmas.
It’s at this time of year that the gap between those of us who have the means and support to meet the needs of our children, and those who are struggling with hardship, seems particularly wide. So, as we work towards helping the families on our waitlist before Christmas, we are acutely aware of the profound difference made by people like you.
It’s been another incredible year of growth and impact for Geelong Mums. Only with the support of our amazing community of volunteers, donors, local businesses, social workers and Maternal & Child Health Nurses can we do what we do each day and make a life-changing difference to families in need.
I’m excited to share with you our last newsletter for 2019 filled with stories of your amazing impact. Everything I share with you in the newsletter is made possible because of people like you, thank you.
The difference you made in 2019
With a couple of weeks to go this year (and this decade!), we’re thrilled to share some amazing 2019 impact figures with you.
Since January we’ve been able to support 6,079 babies and children across 2,599 families.
Collectively, from our three branches - Geelong Mums, St Kilda Mums and Eureka Mums - your support has enabled us to help 19,347 babies and children across Victoria. That number will surpass 20,000 before the end of December, as our volunteers and staff work at full tilt to help families in the lead up to Christmas, our busiest time of year.
Our service, specifically from Geelong Mums, since January has seen us distribute 18,666 items at a pre-loved value of more than $2.1M. These items included:
- 4,081 clothing packs
- 2,582 packs of nappies
- 2,340 toiletry bags
- 1,842 book, craft and toy packs
- 1,318 packets of wipes
- 1,271 shoe packs
- 1,195 linen packs
- 388 car seats
- 373 prams
- 115 cots
These are essential items, critical to the safety of children and wellbeing of families. As we get closer to Christmas and we all think about spending time with loved ones, it becomes clear just how critical your support is to families who need a helping hand. Thank you for everything you do to help Geelong Mums waste less, share more and care for every baby and child.
Give Where You Live - Community Connections Grant
We’re so excited to announce that we have been successful in receiving a $10,000 grant from Give Where You Live, to support our service to social workers and Maternal & Child Health Nurses, enabling them to access essential nursery equipment and children’s clothing for the families they help.
There is considerable work involved in building relationships with social service agencies and fulfilling all of their orders, so we’re very grateful to receive this support.
Between now and the end of January we estimate we will support over 800 babies and children in the Geelong region. This grant will help remove social isolation for the families we assist, by providing their support workers with prams and car seats that keep families mobile and connected.
Give Where You Live have been huge supporters of Geelong Mums for the last six years and we can't thank them enough for continuing to share our vision of a future where we waste less, share more and care for every baby and child.
Workplace Volunteer Awards
We're thrilled to share that Geelong Mums, St Kilda Mums and Eureka Mums were a joint winner in the Employee Volunteering Program category at the Volunteering Victoria State Awards.
This award is a tribute to our dedicated team leaders who ensure that all workplace volunteers have an enjoyable and meaningful experience when they spend a day with us - and we are grateful to each and every volunteer who helps transform donated nursery items into beautiful gifts for families in need.
It's also a credit to those businesses who recognise the importance and the rewards of volunteering and who commit to providing this opportunity for their employees.
You can find out more about workplace volunteering here.
No crib for a bed
This week our sister branch, St Kilda Mums, received a note from a mum along with her gift to our Christmas appeal. She donates throughout the year, as well giving a special toiletry bag to our annual One Mother to Another Mother’s Day campaign, but donating at Christmas time is especially important to her.
Why does she do this? Because eight years ago, someone like you decided to support our organisation, and in turn we were able to help this mum and her baby in a time of crisis.
The effect of that generosity, and knowing there was someone out there who cared for her and her baby, was so profound that she has chosen to give to us ever since. She tells us that every Christmas she wants to help another mother.
This mum had left a violent and abusive marriage. She was alone - her husband had discouraged any new friendships seeking to isolate and further control her. The violence increased during pregnancy, which is something that is all too common.
Once it became unbearable and once she realised that she could not protect her daughter from her husband’s rage, she took a brave step and asked for help from an ex-work colleague. Together they planned her escape and she started over. St Kilda Mums provided a cot for her baby daughter, as well as clothing and other essentials. That Christmas, and every Christmas since, this mum has donated money to buy a new cot for another baby.
When she received our certificate of appreciation with her donation last week she told us ‘this is the best Christmas gift I received’, but really the gift is ours. We’re not sure we could receive a better gift than knowing this organisation has played some small role in transferring love from one mother to another.
Why we love you!
A donor arrived at Geelong Mums last month to drop off donations and took a moment to ask what we needed most. We showed her our list of essential items - what we needed most that week to meet the needs of the families on our waitlist.
That same gorgeous lady returned to Geelong Mums HQ the same afternoon with tears in her eyes and a fabulous donation of new shoes.
“When I was little, I went to school with a girl who only had one pair of shoes. It broke my heart to hear that some of your families simply need shoes.”
Thank you for recognising that what seems basic to many of us, like a pair of children’s shoes, can be something out of reach to families in crisis.
Why quality matters
We all know that school holidays are a great time to clean out the cupboards and this is especially prevalent at the end of the year, when families clear out the old to make way for the ‘new Christmas things’.
At the start of 2019 this was coupled with what we lovingly call the ‘Marie Kondo’ effect where millions of people jumped on board to rid their homes of any items that didn't bring joy to their lives.
We are always so happy to be the recipients of these items so please think of Geelong Mums as you do your Christmas clean out or “Kondo” your cupboards. However when you do so, please consider the following questions:
- Will it ‘spark joy’ for someone else?
- Is it in great condition that you would give to your best friend?
- Has it been freshly laundered?
- Have you checked the list on our website to ensure we are able to rehome your items?
When you answer YES to all of these questions, then we are here to accept your donations!
We want everyone who receives a Geelong Mums clothing bundle, pram or cot to feel excited they have some lovely new clothes for their child or a safe place for their baby to sleep with freshly laundered linen, but also to know that they were packaged, bundled and safety checked with great care, thoughtfulness and love.
Thank you in advance for your generous donations and we look forward to seeing you at Geelong Mums in the new year.
Update from our Board
We would like to acknowledge the contribution and support of two retiring board members, Linda Grace and Jesse Vincent.
Linda's volunteering began as a bundler and pro-bono legal adviser. After becoming a member of our fundraising sub committee in 2012, Linda joined our board in 2016 and became Chair in 2017. Linda is the mother of a young family and had her third child during her time with us.
Jesse started volunteering in early 2013 with impact reporting. She helped organise data and created meaningful reports; this work was the start of our annual 'what we rehome' impact tree. She joined our board as Treasurer in November 2014, helping us complete an audit with very little notice!
Both Linda and Jesse are an amazing inspiration to us - juggling motherhood, a busy job and giving back to the community.
If you want something done - ask a busy mum!
Linda has passed the baton onto Deidre Mackechnie as Chair, and Clementine Thompson has taken over from Jesse as our Treasurer.
Our board represents all three branches - St Kilda Mums, Geelong Mums and Eureka Mums - and oversees governance, financial management and accountability, and policies and procedures. You can read more about the Board here.
Kate Betts, from our Geelong Mums committee, sits on the board and attends the monthly meetings at our St Kilda Mums branch.
Thank you Linda and Jesse for your incredible contribution to our organisation; you are a shining example of volunteer commitment and giving back.
Volunteer spotlight - Sue Heath
Husband, Phill, and three children Claire (32), Chris (30) and Sarah (29), Harley the furchild (11), and one grandchild on the way!
How did you come to be a volunteer at Geelong Mums?
I retired and moved to Geelong three years ago, and was searching for a volunteer position that was flexible enough to allow me to travel.
Volunteering Geelong suggested Geelong Mums, and after attending the fabulous induction with Solée I knew I had found my place.
What do you love about Geelong Mums?
I love to volunteer and meet new people at the same time. Geelong Mums were so welcoming from the first moment with their warmth, friendliness and inclusion.
It has been quite eye-opening to hear stories from the case workers about families in need in our area. It’s a privilege to volunteer at Geelong Mums and be able to assist. I wish I could do more.
Thank you Sue! You can find out more about volunteering here.
Once again we would like to thank you all for everything you do and from the Geelong Mums family to yours - we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.
We look forward to seeing you in 2020!
General Manager - Geelong Mums
0417 032 825