St Kilda Mums support asylum seeker families
Almost 200 newly arrived asylum seeker families throughout Melbourne have received crucial material goods for their children thanks to a volunteer community group.
St Kilda Mums, a not-for-profit organisation, re-home new and pre-loved baby goods for families in need, providing new arrivals with not only the necessary items to look after their family, but also the resources to feel at home in their new lives.
Items are given to people facing a variety of challenges in order to uplift them and provide practical support.
The group was started in February 2009 by a group of mothers after opportunity shops refused to accept donations of prams, cots and other nursery gear.
While many maternal child health nurses attempted to re-home previous clients’ goods, Occupational Health and Safety requirements and time restrictions made it almost impossible to create a sustainable donation and receiving system.
“I wanted to donate my pre-loved goods to my maternal child health nurse, but after seeing their makeshift storage room of donations, I volunteered to start a working bee with my girlfriends to help reorganise it,” said St Kilda Mums CEO, Jessie Macpherson.
“There were so many people that wanted to donate nursery equipment but no service to match them with families suffering hardship that needed them the most.”
As a result, Jessie and a team of mothers created St Kilda Mums and since then have set up Geelong Mums in 2013 and Eureka Mums in Ballarat in 2014.
Now St Kilda Mums has its own warehouse, several hundred volunteers and delivers goods from Bairnsdale to Shepparton, to Horsham and Portland.
“We are trying to make the world that we want for our children by reusing and recycling,” said Jessie.
While asylum seekers aren’t the only families the group provides for, the impact St Kilda Mums has made on helping new arrivals has been massive.
The group has supplied migrant settlement agency AMES Australia with almost 700 pieces of material aid that has been distributed to their asylum seeker clients.
The goods provided to AMES Australia include 55 car restraints, 23 sling carriers, 29 bouncers, 23 bottle feeding kits, 153 clothing and linen bags, 45 cots and mattresses and 64 prams and strollers.
The estimated worth of the material aid is more than $54,000 and has been distributed in ten local government areas across Melbourne.
Jessie said the organisation was thrilled to be able to work with AMES Australia to achieve such great outcomes.
“We would like to thank AMES Australia and your caring and professional social workers for helping us deliver material aid to vulnerable families,” Jessie said.
“Many of these families have low or no income, so St Kilda Mums takes pressure from the family budget by allowing any money saved on material goods to go to other needs such as rent and food.”
AMES Australia Program Support Officer Sophie Douglas said St Kilda Mums add AMES Australia clients to a waitlist for major items such as cots, prams and car seats and then contact her to advise when these goods are ready for collection.
AMES Australia Case Manager Raad Almajidy has a young client family who have just had twins.
Raad said St Kilda Mums assisted the family with a double pram, two cots, clothing bundles, baby bouncers, baby carriers and more.
“The main thing we learnt from this experience is to give. We learned the importance of keeping things you no longer need for donation as someone out there will benefit from them,” said the Iranian couple who came here in 2013.
“The importance of donations is huge as someone out there will appreciate this as much as we did.”
The pristine condition of the goods were greatly valued by both the parents and their case manager.
“I would like to extend my sincerest thanks and appreciation to St Kilda Mums for making my job easier and putting a smile on my clients’ faces,” Raad said.
Each month St Kilda Mums targets donations for the most needed items, this month being coats for kids and pre-loved car restraints, which can be dropped off at their warehouse.
AMES Australia Staff Writer