If you are feeling the pull to give back and make a difference, finding a charity to support or where to send your unwanted stuff can be half the battle. Sara Keli has found 14 charities and not-for-profits that need your support to help make a difference in the lives of mums and families.
St Kilda Mums
Started from a simple idea to rehome donations of baby goods at a local hospital, St Kilda Mums helped more than 13,000 babies and children in 2017 alone with the value of rehomed items last year sitting at over $5 million.
You can donate your old, good quality, nursery equipment, clothes and toys. There is a comprehensive list of acceptable donations on the St Kilda Mums website. Donations of money and in kind donations are also welcome as are volunteers.
The Nappy Collective
It’s hard to imagine not being able to buy nappies for your baby, but for some families this is reality. What started in 2013 as an idea for using up those last few nappies that you find when you clean out an old nappy bag, has now collected over 2 million nappies for families in need.
The Nappy Collective run nappy collection drives throughout the year where the nappies collected are distributed to organisations that support families in crisis or in need.
Mummies Paying It Forward
Sometimes it can be overwhelming to find a place to donate your unwanted kids, household and other items and that is why Mummies Paying It Forward started. Mummies Paying It Forward acts as a central point, accepting donations and then distributing them to their partner charities across NSW.
You will find a list of items you can donate on the Mummies Paying It Forward website. They accept baby and nursery items, adult clothing, household items and toiletries. They also accept monetary donations to help cover their storage costs.
Mum For Mum
Mum For Mum offers a free home-based program for mothers of infants and newborns as well as pregnant women who need confidential and non-judgemental support as they navigate that first year of their baby’s life. The mums helped by Mum For Mum generally don’t have a supportive family environment, so Mum For Mum works alongside other support services to provide an empathetic and supportive connection.
All of the Mum For Mum volunteers are mums themselves who want to help other mums and contribute to their community. Volunteers receive training and support to in turn support other mums.
It is unimaginable to think that every day in Australia 13 families have their lives turned upside down when mum is diagnosed with cancer. Since 2007, Mummy’s Wish has supported 2,500 of these families with various support including resources to help talk to the kids about the illness and treatment, housecleaning and housekeeping, hospital car parking vouchers and memory making tips for terminal Mums.
You can support Mummy’s Wish by fundraising or attending their events. Mummy’s Wish also need corporate support so if you can help with getting your organisation on board then reach out to them.
Devoted to reducing the impacts of emotional and mental health problems in the pre and postnatal periods, COPE runs various programs to inform and educate, advocate and raise awareness for perinatal mental health. They also support world-leading research to enhance practice and to inform policy and services.
You can purchase a COPE keyring, with all proceeds going to the work of COPE as well as making donations, fundraising or even looking at bringing your organisation on as a corporate supporter.
Mothers’ Milk Bank
In cases where a mother’s own milk is unavailable, Mothers’ Milk Bank provides screened and pasteurised donor mothers’ milk. The blood screening tests for donors includes tests for HIV, HTLV, syphilis and Hepatitis B and C. The donor is screened, the milk is pasteurised, and the milk is screened to ensure it is free of microbiological growth, before it is released from the milk bank.
Breastfeeding mothers are able to donate breastmilk to Mothers’ Milk Bank. There are guidelines on the website that you should read before donating. Mothers’ Milk Bank also accepts financial donations, which go towards the costs of purchasing a new Pasteuriser.
Birthing Kit Foundation Australia
Did you know that around 300,000 women and 3 million newborns die each year from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth? Most of these deaths occur in developing countries. Birthing Kit Foundation Australia (BKFA) works with local organisations, governments and health service providers who receive and distribute Birthing Kits to vulnerable women to help enable a clean and safer birthing environment.
The majority of the birthing kits are assembled in Australia before they are sent overseas to their destination. You can get involved by hosting an assembly day with your friends or colleagues, volunteering at another assembly day in your local area or fundraising to support the work of BKFA.
Dandelion Support Network
Founded in 2011, the Dandelion Support Network has since helped more than 4,500 families in need by providing them with donations of children’s clothing and nursery items. They partner with more than 120 hospitals and community service agencies from their local base in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney.
Dandelion Support Network holds regular donation days where you can drop off your good quality nursery items and baby clothing. These are located in Caringbah in Sydney and you will find details on their website. Monetary donations as well as volunteers are also welcome!
The Pink Elephants Support Network
1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss, and it is this statistic as well as personal experience that led to the formation of the The Pink Elephants Support Network. With a vision to support women through miscarriage, pregnancy loss and beyond so that women don’t feel alone and invalidated in their grief, The Pink Elephants Support Network has created a wide range of resources and kits for women, their partners, children, friends and family.
Donations help to create Miscarriage Care Kits, Partner Advice Brochures and Rainbow Stickers to help guide healthcare professionals treating women who have experienced pregnancy loss. Launching later in 2018 is the Peer Support Programme so that women who are experiencing miscarriage and pregnancy loss can be connected with another woman who has been there before.
Miracle Babies Foundation
Each year 48,000 babies are born sick or premature and requiring the help of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Nursery (SCN). Miracle Babies Foundation is there to support and guide the families of these babies. They offer a Family Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for families with a threatened pregnancy, a baby currently in NICU/SCN as well as transitioning to home and onwards. They also provide Emergency Care Packages, NICU Survival Packs, support groups, Memory Boxes and other resources.
If you have had a baby cared for in NICU/SCN you can apply to be a volunteer with Miracle Babies Foundation. You can also knit/sew items for miracle babies, fundraise, donate or purchase Miracle Babies Foundation merchandise from their online store.
The Babes Project
For women facing a crisis pregnancy, The Babes Project is there for support. The program they offer includes assisting women to address challenging circumstances and engage with other healthcare and supporting agencies, providing workshops where women can learn life skills and baby care, and allowing her the space to begin to plan a different future for her family. Women can self refer or are referred by family, friends, other support and/or government agencies and hospitals.
You can support The Babes Project by becoming a monthly sponsor or making a one-off donation. You can also help equip a mum by filling a hospital/nappy bag or filling a new mums basket. You will find details for this on their website.
Australian Breastfeeding Association
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) provides mothers with practical mother-to-mother support and information, enabling them to establish and continue breastfeeding, as well as educating and advocating for breastfeeding in the wider community. They offer a free helpline for breastfeeding mothers as well as local support groups, breastfeeding education classes and more.
ABA needs volunteers for events, projects, local support groups and specific interest task groups. Donations help the ABA to provide counselling and support services, continue to support research into breastfeeding, provide education and training and foster community awareness and raise support.
Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA) supports women, men and families across Australia to recover from post and antenatal depression and anxiety, a serious illness that affects around 100,000 Australian families every year. They offer a free national helpline service offering support for new and expecting mums and dads struggling with becoming a parent.
PANDA has volunteer Community Champions who share their experience of perinatal anxiety and depression to help raise awareness. If you are based in Victoria you can also volunteer as a Telephone Support Worker or Education Volunteer. Donations and fundraising help PANDA continue their important work in the community.
Sara Keli is the Editor of Kid Magazine. When she isn’t writing, designing or creating, you can find her enjoying the sunshine on her back deck with her two daughters or escaping into a good book.