We believe that by reusing and recycling much-loved babies' and children's gear, we not only share the joy of motherhood with each other, but we save the earth's precious resources too.
In 2009, a group of five mums were at the St Kilda Maternal and Child Health Centre on Chapel Street. There, the photocopying room was stacked high with baby goods donated by kind local parents.
Jessica Macpherson, one of the mums and now our CEO, saw a need and volunteered to sort, launder and package the preloved goods for rehoming to families that might need them.
The presentation of the goods to be rehomed was very important – Jessica and the other mums wanted to be respectful of the dignity of the recipients, and wanted them to feel these items were from loving homes and in good condition. This has remained a key value at St Kilda Mums. To this day, we only rehome items we would be comfortable receiving for our own children.
The items were distributed to families in need in the area by Sarah Pitney, the Enhanced Care Nurse. Sarah mentioned the rehomed goods to other social workers from local welfare agencies and demand began to grow.
St Kilda Mums, which had started as a small seed of community good will, was born. The concept was so simple and the outcome so immediate.
Often near-new items, instead of being discarded, could provide many more families with years of use.
Jessica and Peta, two of that first group of mums, started receiving donations at their homes through word of mouth referrals. Local mums loved the idea of passing on their baby’s items for others to use.
St Kilda Mums continued to grow. More mums wanted to get involved and do whatever they could to help. As we grew, it became obvious St Kilda Mums needed a bigger storage space than our collective front verandahs. After a call for help in the local paper in mid-2010, a generous Elwood family donated their double garage in to store our stock. We used the garage for three years.
In the meantime, we increased the volunteer base and the number of agencies we supported. By early 2013 we raised enough fund through a Rent Appeal to secure a bigger space. In June 2013, we moved into a warehouse in Vale Street, St Kilda.
St Kilda Mums has always been dependent on volunteers and we remain so. Our volunteers have worked during whatever free time they have, often from their own homes, and often juggling paid work and their own family requirements. From the grannies who knit for us, to the dad that designs our website, and the groups that participate in our workplace volunteering programme - we rely on our volunteers to provide this valuable service.
It’s critically important we recognise St Kilda Mums is founded on the generosity of volunteers and will continue to grow with their ideas, help and support.