We’ve all experienced something both traumatic and unifying over the past few months with COVID-19. 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.
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’ve been particularly concerned about the elderly and vulnerable members in our community, and those whose regular face to face interactions with others are a lifeline. We all now have some small insight into what it feels like to be socially isolated, cut off and lonely. This is the reality for many of the families we support on a daily basis. The one thing I hope we don’t lose from this challenging time is the need for understanding and empathy for those who are disadvantaged or marginalised.
On a brighter note, I am delighted to let you know that we have now reopened for volunteers and goods donations after ten weeks without them. I am so proud to say that we did not have to suspend our service for even one day.
To put that into perspective, we normally have more than 1,600 regular volunteers supporting our work across Victoria and 98% of the items we give to families are donated. So it was a huge gap to fill and we were able to do it with the support of people like you. Our Social Service team will talk more about this later.
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 St Kilda Mums.
We are open for goods donations!
It feels like a long time since we’ve been able to accept beautiful preloved goods from the community. With government restrictions now easing, we are able to welcome donations back into the warehouse in a carefully managed way. If you are thinking about donating, please read the details on our website very carefully to consider the best method for you. Options include:
- Drop off - strictly by pre booking only
- Courier pick up
- Mailing your items
Unfortunately our local volunteers who host drop off points are not able to do so for the foreseeable future owing to the challenges presented by COVID-19. We must protect the privacy, health and safety of our volunteers at this time.
A message of thanks
An update from the front line
What a busy few months it has been. We are so proud that St Kilda Mums has managed to continue to process and distribute orders for our social service partners during this pandemic. It’s meant that families in need have still been able to access urgent items during this crisis.
Social workers and Maternal and Child Health Nurses have been working from home and providing phone consultations to families in need of support. We've implemented contactless pick up and our van has been delivering to agencies all over Melbourne. Our treasured freight partner, Victorian Freight Specialists (VFS) didn’t miss a beat and continued delivering orders for us right across the state.
The families we support have faced many more challenges over this time, from nappies being out of stock at the supermarket to no outreach support from their social workers. Most have had to assist their children learning from home which has been especially challenging if English is not their first language. Many families have not been eligible for any government payments when their casual employment ceased.
The response from you, our community, has literally been life saving. When we closed our doors to donated goods in March, our stock in the warehouse dwindled quickly. With funds donated, we have been able to purchase cots, prams and car seats at wholesale prices. We’ve received brand new clothing, toiletries and linen in the post so that families have been able to access the essential items they need to welcome their babies home.
Thank you so much!
From the Social Service Team - Emma, Helen Y, Helen M and Danielle.
Across our three branches, we experienced a 30% increase in cases in March 2020 compared to the same month last year. This coincided with the COVID-19 lockdowns and the resulting economic fallout starting to take full effect. We foresee a sharp increase in requests for support in coming months, especially from people who have never before had to ask for help.
Locked Down Trivia
The team at Locked Down Trivia selected St Kilda Mums as the beneficiary of their ‘Outer Space’ themed trivia night on Friday 15 May. The virtual event had almost 300 people participating and raised over $4,000. Thank you to everyone who so enthusiastically participated! It was a fantastic evening bringing together our community for some trivia fun.
Corporate support when we needed it most
The following businesses have actively supported St Kilda Mums recently and we are grateful for their support when we’ve needed it most:
- Cisco held an employee trivia competition for Mother’s Day and raised over $2800. AND they sent cupcakes to our warehouse team!
- Decjuba donated 20 boxes of new clothing and footwear.
- Thread Together responded to our call out for big kids clothes and sent a huge shipment of new clothing and shoes.
- Valco Baby & Vee Bee donated $20,000 worth of new strollers.
The Body Shop facilitated a Mother’s Day Art Auction with pieces from Tash Sefton and Montana Lower, raising over $1400.
National Volunteer Week
We recently 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 celebration, we shared some #volunteerdiaries on our social media pages with stories of what our volunteers have been up to during lockdown. Here is just one special reflection from Bronwyn.
“I first started volunteering at St Kilda Mums at Vale St in 2017. As soon as I did the induction & met Dina I was blown away by how friendly everyone was & how you were made to feel part of the ‘team’ no matter what you did or how much time you could spend volunteering.
The core values of St Kilda Mums - of helping every single baby & mum no matter what their circumstances - was the biggest attraction for me. I love to help people & give back to the community.
I’m currently knitting squares so they can be crocheted together to make a blanket & have got some fabric together to start making quilted squares for play mats. I've also tried my hand at baby sleep suits. There is ALWAYS something you can do to help out a mum or a baby."
Partnering with MANRAGS
St Kilda Mums is now partnering with MANRAGS to save more quality baby’s and children’s clothing from landfill, and to redirect donations unsuitable for St Kilda Mums to be recycled.
As government restrictions start easing in Victoria, St Kilda Mums volunteers will work alongside MANRAGS to help sort through and identify any excellent quality baby and kids clothing that can be salvaged and assist families in need.
#givesharecare on Giving Day 2020
Giving Day is almost here! Only one week to go. Last year, an incredible $636,407 was donated by our generous community. With those funds, we’ve been able to support thousands of families through some very difficult times.
This year, we need to raise $900,000 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 supporters in the lead up to Giving Day. If you’re interested in recording a short video about how you give, share and care about St Kilda Mums, please email our Fundraising Manager Rochelle and she will send you some more information.
Thank you for everything you do to support families in need, and for sharing our vision to waste less, share more and care for every baby and child, especially over the last three months. We have such a wonderful community of supporters and we look forward to sharing many more amazing stories with you soon.