What a time we have all been living in over these last few months. We’ve all experienced something both traumatic and unifying over this time. We’ve seen many heartbreaking stories, particularly from overseas, and we’ve united as a community and as a country in a way never seen before to ensure that the story of the United States, of Britain, of Italy, did not become our story.
We have all had to quickly adapt and our busy lives have given way to a slower pace, although with added challenges of working and schooling from home. I find it quite poignant to think that this is a period of history that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be learning about at school in years to come.
As a community we have all ‘been in this together’ and that has never been more evident by us here at Geelong Mums. The way this community has continued to support us and therefore those who are most vulnerable in our region has been so inspiring. I am delighted to let you know that we have now reopened for volunteers and goods donations after ten weeks, and we did not have to suspend our service for even one day.
Our Giving Day is just around the corner on 17 June and I ask you to please #givesharecare on this day. Donate what you can, share our posts and let us know why you care about Geelong Mums.
We are open for goods donations
It feels like such a long time since we’ve been able to accept beautiful preloved goods from the community. With government restrictions easing this week, we can welcome a small number of donations back into the warehouse.
If you’re thinking about dropping donations in, please read the details below very carefully to consider the best method for you.
Drop off - Strictly by pre booking only
If you have items that are on our most needed list, you can book in to drop off to our warehouse. Please email us with a list of what you have to donate and we can send the link to book through our online booking system.
If you have items that can be posted or ordered online, we would be so grateful if you could use this option. Our address is: Geelong Mums, 110 Balliang St South Geelong VIC 3220
As we stagger how we open the warehouses to donations and volunteers, our limited operational capacity to check in, clean, sort and pack donations will be tested.
We are in desperate need of the specific items below and these donated items must be our priority. We are going to ask all our fabulous supporters to be very considered in the content and quality of their donations and to please hang onto any other donations that aren’t on the list below.
- Car seats
- Clothing for school aged children (particularly) - new, laundered & near new
- Linen - single bed and cot
- Microwave Sterilisers
Supporting our community together
Throughout this hectic time, we are so thankful that we've been able to remain open. We are in awe of the efforts of the support workers who have continued to collect goods from us and distribute them to local families doing it tough. We have adjusted by setting up a contactless service at the warehouse. Pre packed orders in trolleys are being wheeled out to social worker’s cars and loaded by staff, all an example of the efforts to minimise risk. This has meant that families in need have still been able to access urgent items during this crisis.
Unfortunately we've been operating without our amazing team of volunteers and we just wanted to take this opportunity to thank them for all of the hard work they put in prior to COVID-19. Without their incredible efforts, our stock levels just would not have been able to sustain us during these last few months!
In just two months, we have distributed 2588 items with a preloved value of $294,734 to help support 408 families with a total of 959 children. Such an incredible effort.
The families we support have faced many challenges with increased complexity over this time. From nappies and soap being out of stock at the supermarket to limited or no face to face outreach contact from their caseworkers. Supporting children to learn from home was challenging for most but has been especially challenging for new arrivals when English is not their first language.
Many families have not been eligible for any government payments and navigating changes of Centrelink support always creates opportunities for families who may fall through the cracks.
The response from our community has literally been life saving. When we closed our doors to goods donation in March, much of our stock in the warehouse came close to running out quickly. With funds donated, we have been able to purchase wholesale cots, prams and car seats. Brand new clothing, toiletries and linen has arrived in the post so that families still have what they need to welcome their babies home. Without donations from the times pre-COVID and a top up of generous online donations of brand new goods, this level of support just wouldn't have been possible. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!
Geelong Community Foundation
A very special thank you to the Geelong Community Foundation who fast tracked a $40,000 grant to Geelong Mums so we could support more babies and children without delay while we closed for volunteers and goods donations from the public.
As mentioned earlier, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit shown to us during this pandemic. So many individuals have supported us so readily and to them we say a huge thank you. We would also like to send out a special thanks to the following organisations who supported us so generously over the last 3 months. Their financial, gift in kind and material goods donations have been invaluable in allowing us to stay open.
- Cotton On - donated 70 boxes of clothing, coats, shoes and accessories for children
- Kiwanis Club of Geelong - toiletries and $1000 of clothing, nappies, wipes and bed linen
- Paint Smoothie - an artwork auction for Mother’s Day which raised $910 for Geelong Mums
- Rotary Club of Highton - donation of children’s toiletries, nappies and wipes
- Rotary Club of Kardinia - $1000 donation to help us support those in need
National Volunteer Week
In the week beginning Monday 19 May, we celebrated National Volunteer Week. We are so lucky to have such wonderful volunteers that continue to support us, even when they haven’t been able to attend our warehouse.
During the week of social media celebration, we shared profiles of some of our wonderful volunteers on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Please read below about Lily Dunn, who volunteers for us in between her day job as a nurse at University Hospital.
Why did you choose Geelong Mums?
I chose Geelong Mums because it seemed like such a welcoming place to come and help out vulnerable people. I was shocked to learn at Geelong Mums that so many families in my local community were struggling to provide basic needs for their children. I loved that Geelong Mums not only helped these families with material goods but through their service gave them dignity and hope.
What exactly do you do as a volunteer at Geelong Mums?
I volunteer my time at Geelong Mums sorting donations and making up clothing packs ready to be picked up by social workers and given to the specific family that needs them.
Tell us a little bit about your personal story, and why helping families in need appealed to you?
I am 23 years old and work as a nurse at Geelong Hospital. I count myself so lucky that my family was always able to provide me with appropriate clothing, shoes and toys - this should be the right of every child. Giving a child a good start in life sets them up for great things and may allow them to break the cycle of poverty that their family may be living in.
How has life or your perspective on life changed since volunteering with us?
Geelong Mums has helped me appreciate the amazing childhood I had and the life that I lead. It has opened my eyes up to the prevalence of poverty and domestic violence in my community - but also made me aware of the many organisations that work tirelessly to support people impacted by these issues. Geelong Mums has impacted my life by introducing me to a whole new group of people that have become my friends and support network. Geelong Mums has given me a place to go when I am struggling with issues in my own life where I know I will always be greeted with a smile and open arms.
#givesharecare on Giving Day 2020
Giving Day is almost here. Only one week to go! Last year, an incredible amount of $159,940 was donated by our generous community. With those funds, we’ve been able to support thousands of families through some incredibly tough times.
This year, we need to raise $200,000 to ensure every baby and child has the essential nursery equipment they need. We know it's an ambitious goal but we truly believe it's achievable when you, our incredible supporters stand beside us on the day.
Every financial donation will be quadrupled. Please give what you can, share our posts with your network and show how much you care for those in need.
Share your support
We would really love to shine a spotlight on our beautiful community of supporters during Giving Day. If you’re interested in recording a short video about how you give, share and care about Geelong Mums, please email our Fundraising Manager Rochelle and she will send you some more information.
Finally I’d like to say a very big thank you to each and every one of you for your unwavering support, especially over the last three months. COVID-19 has thrown each of us many curveballs, but all of these have been met with an even more determined commitment by the Geelong Mums community to help the thousands of babies and children we support throughout the year.
To our wonderful community - thank you for not forgetting about them and for continuing to share our vision where we waste less, share more and care for every child.
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